The state legislature on Friday passed an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to substantially increase penalties against drunk driving along with other traffic violations like cutting lanes, rash driving, use of faulty vehicles.
However, it may take some time before the law gets implemented as the MVA is a Central Act and the amendment will require the President’s nod.
If the amendment is passed then someone driving under the influence of alcohol will have to pay a minimum fine of Rs 6,000, which is three times more that the earlier Rs 2,000.
“The increase in the amount of fines will surely repel people from driving under the influence of alcohol,” said an official from the transport department on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Other violations like lane cutting will also cost more. The fine for this has been hiked from the existing range of Rs 100- 500 to Rs 300-1,500.
The police had petitioned for a five-fold hike in drunk driving in February this year, after Nooriya Haveliwala crashed her car into a police check post at Marine Drive, which resulted in death of a policeman and a biker.
The traffic police submitted a proposal to amend the MVA through the home department, seeking an overall increase in traffic penalties including signal jumping and lane cutting. The state cabinet in August had cleared the proposal to hike penalties against traffic violations in lieu of increasing road accidents in the state.
In 2009, there were 11,403 deaths in road accidents and 23,947 cases of serious injuries.