New law will make drivers pay through their nose for ‘one for the road’
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 which aims to reduce the number of road accidents through several provisions including hefty hike in penalties for traffic violations was finally cleared by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The Bill piloted by the road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari raises “penalty regarding motor vehicles by 10 % every year” in the hope that higher penalties will act as a deterrent against traffic violations like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc.
The Bill has been passed with three Government amendments and will need to go back to Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill on the July 23, 2019.
Watch: Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill passed: 10 things you need to know
Those driving without a licence or found speeding will have to shell out a penalty of ₹5,000 instead of ₹500 as per the new law. “Drunken driving” will invite a penalty of ₹10,000 instead of ₹2,000 presently, while drivers without helmets will be fined ₹1000 instead of ₹100 that they pay now.
“Congratulating every citizen on passing of ‘The motor vehicle amendment bill’ which will pave way to safer roads. I am thankful to the members of the house who realised the gravity of the subject and voted in the favour of the bill,” union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted.
The amendment also introduces ₹10,000 fine for not providing way for emergency vehicles. It also recommends that the parents of a juvenile caught for traffic offences be jailed for three years and fined ₹25,000. It also mandates offending juvenile’s trial under the JJ act.
Penalties for traffic violations hadn’t been raised since 1988 when fine for general offences such as red-light jumping was fixed at 100 rupees and was hardly a deterrent.
The new act replaces the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. A similar bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act was cleared by the Lok Sabha in April 2017, but got stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the opposition protested against several provisions of the bill. It subsequently lapsed after the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved.
A similar bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act was cleared by the Lok Sabha in April 2017, but got stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the opposition protested against several provisions of the bill. It subsequently lapsed after the 16th Lok Sabha was dissolved.
Among other important provisions, the Bill has included the driver’s attendant in 3rd Party insurance. There will be no cap on liability of insurers and a 10 time increase in insurance compensation, from ₹50, 000 to ₹5 lakh.
The Bill also requires the Central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in the country.
In other objectives, the amendment act facilitates grant of online learning licence; simplifies insurance provisions for swift help to accident victims and their families; increases the time limit for renewal of driving licence to one year before and after the expiry date; increases the period for renewal of transport licence from three years to five years and enables the authority to grant licence even to differently abled persons.
The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to either reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.
If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to ₹100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees.