Errant drivers face heat as Maharashtra mulls new law

  • Kailash Korde, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 14, 2015 00:54 IST

In a move aimed to make Mumbai’s roads safer and to hold those behind the wheel responsible for their actions, the Maharashtra state’s transport department has proposed a mandatory ‘refresher course’ for drivers involved in fatal accidents, before they can get back on the road.

With around 13,000 road accident deaths reported every year across Maharashtra, the state’s transport department, in its draft Maharashtra Mechanically Propelled Vehicles & Road Safety Act- 2015, has proposed that drivers causing accidents that lead to loss of life should not be allowed to drive without undergoing the ‘refresher course’.

If Maharashtra succeeds in enacting the law, it would become the first state in India to have its own transport act.

The move assumes significance in the wake of the drink driving case involving 35-year-old high court advocate Janhavi Gadkar, who crashed her Audi into a taxi while driving drunk on the wrong side of the Eastern Freeway. Two people were killed and four others injured in the incident that has sparked outrage among Mumbaiites.

“A driver, who has been involved in a serious accident resulting a death due to his fault, shall undergo a refresher’s training course from the institute authorised for this purpose by the state government,” states the draft.

The proposed law also makes it mandatory for those driving public transport vehicles such as buses, taxis, to appear for a similar course before renewing their driving licence.

“The draft of the proposed law has been published by the transport department. We have called for suggestions and objections from people, public representatives and other stakeholders,” said Diwakar Raote, state transport minister, who after taking over last year had announced that the state would formulate a new transport act, on the lines of Centre’s Motor Vehicle Act.

For those driving heavy vehicles, the draft law has proposed a compulsory three-month long course from a state-authorised institution along with a light motor vehicle licence to be held for at least a year.

While the draft has maintained legal driving age at 18, it has made it mandatory for instructors of motor driving schools to hold an “instructor licence”. “The test of competence to drive a motor vehicle shall be conducted on the specialised, computerised driving test track (e-test) from a date to be notified by the state government,” states the draft.

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