Fewer accidents after Motor Vehicles Act enacted, LS told
The Centre on Thursday credited the amended Motor Vehicles Act (MV Act), which took effect on September 1 and specified hefty fines for traffic violations ranging from riding a bike without a helmet to driving under the influence, with helping reduce the number of road accidents in some states and Union territories.
States and Union territories including Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Pondicherry and Chandigargh have reported fewer road accidents, compared to the corresponding period last year, the Lok Sabha was informed.
“As per the information available from certain States and UTs, the road accidents and fatalities have reduced,” Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said in a written reply to a question raised in the House. He didn’t provide figures.
The MV Act increased penalties for a raft of traffic violations, including by as much as 500% to 1000% for drunk driving and speeding with fines ranging from Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000, as it sought to deter unsafe driving in an attempt to reduce casualties in traffic accidents and make Indian roads safer.
Heftier fines under the Act were opposed by several states including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, among others. Thus far only five states have officially notified the act--Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Assam and Karnataka.
“The Ministry has not received any information from any State that they are not implementing the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019,” Gadkari told the Lok Sabha.
“ As per section 200 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 the State Government may by notification in the official gazette specify such amount for compounding of certain offences..,” Gadkari added.
Hindustan Times had in September reported that several states that opposed the amended MV Act had supported high fines for traffic violations before it was passed in Parliament.
According to the road accident data for 2018, among the states, the highest road fatalities were observed In Uttar Pradesh (22,256), followed by Maharashtra (13,261), Tamil Nadu (12,216), Karnataka (10,990) and Madhya Pradesh (10,706 ).
Cities with 50 million-plus populations accounted for 18.3% of the total number of road crashes and 11.7% of deaths in the country. In a city-wise analysis, Delhi (1,690) was the city with the highest number of road crash fatalities followed by Chennai (1,260) and Kanpur (698). Chennai (7,580) topped the list for the number of road crashes ollowed by Delhi (6,515) and Bengaluru (4,611).
“However what is important to note is that a lot of states which have opposed the implementation of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act or have even reduced the fines are amongst the states with highest road crash fatalities. The latest data highlights the urgent need on part of the states to implement key road safety provisions of Motor Vehicles( Amendment) Act,2019.” said Piyush Tewari, CEO and founder of SaveLIFE Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works on road safety.