PM Modi, please make way for the road safety bill

71 eminent personalities request Rajya Sabha nod for stringent Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016, in the monsoon session that started on Wednesday.

mumbai Updated: Jul 19, 2018 10:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,PM Modi,road safety bill
The Bill, which is awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s nod, has stringent rules to ensure road safety.(HT File Photo)

With rise in deaths owing to road mishaps, 71 influential personalities, including Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awardees, actors, economists, scientists, sportspersons, members of parliament, judiciary, along with some of the injured, have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking passage of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2016.

The Bill, which is awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s nod, has stringent rules to ensure road safety. Industrialist Anu Aga, who lost her 25-year-old son to a road accident in mid-nineties, is one of the signatories. Astrophysicist Dr Jayant Narlikar, former chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudga, MP Oscar Fernandes and Paralympic cyclist Jagvinder Singh are among the others supporting the demand.

Ranjit Gadgil from Pune-based organisation Parisar said the Bill is crucial to prevent fatalities. “The Bill takes into account five key risk factors – helmets, seat belts, child safety restraints, speeding and drink driving. All political parties have agreed to the amendments related to road safety, but the Bill is yet to get approval in the Rajya Sabha. We want at least 15 minutes to be slated in the coming session of Parliament to take up this important bill,” said Gadgil.

The bill makes it mandatory to wear helmets and increases penalty for drink driving to ₹10,000 from the current fine of ₹2,000, and other offences such as rash driving and honking.

The bill stresses the concept of child restraint. The concept is alien to a large population of motorists, where parents allow young children to sit in the front seat and children to ride pillion on motorcyles without proper headgear.

Members of Parisar met the parliamentary select committee to raise the topic of children safety.

The challenge worrying road safety advocates is the Brasilia declaration, where India has pledged to reduce the road deaths by 50% by 2020. “Every day that passes without the Act being amended leads to the death of 400 Indians and injuries to another 1,300, many of whom will be disabled for life. Unless urgent steps are taken, we shall fail to meet this target,” the letter read.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 10:25 IST