Road safety is a serious issue that is not taken too seriously in India. Innumerable accidents are caused daily due to lack of stringent traffic rules. It has been estimated that 1.5 lakh people lose their lives in 5 lakh accidents that are reported every year in India. The government aims to reduce this number to 50% in the next five years and in a bid to improve road safety and ensure lesser accidents, the Union Cabinet has finally passed the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill. This bill proposes levying of fines and penalties in order to curb road accidents and to ensure strong enforcement of driving rules and regulations.
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Amendments have been made to 68 out of 223 sections of the Motor Vehicle Act and 28 new sections have been added. The bill has been drafted after seeking recommendations by a group of ministers, headed by Rajasthan Transport minister, Yunus Khan and 18 transport ministers belonging to different political parties. The group of ministers submitted three interim reports concerning the same.
The bill had been pending in the Lok Sabha since the past one year. Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari proposed the bill amid objections raised by the opposition. The bill seeks to make certain amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 to improve road safety conditions in India. The honorable minister said that no time should be lost in passing the bill. In his words, “The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. It is a historic step towards making our roads safe and save lakhs of innocent lives.”
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According to the new rules, people flouting driving rules and regulations will be treated with hefty penalties, upto ten times more than existing ones. Some of the key areas on which the bill focuses include:
• Improving Road Safety
• Strengthening Rural transport
• Enabling online services
• Last mile connectivity
• Public Transport
• Automation and Computerization
• Citizen’s facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department
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Some of the important points about the Motor Vehicle Act 2016 are:
• A fine of up to Rs. 10,000 has been imposed on drunken driving and in hit and run cases, the driver will be liable to pay Rs. 200,000 as compensation.
• Rs. 10 lakh compensation to be paid in case of road fatality.
• Rs. 2,000 fine and/or three months imprisonment would be imposed on those who are caught driving without a license.
• Driving without helmets will be punishable with Rs. 2,000 fine and three months suspension of license.
• The State government would be given liberty to regulate the road activities in a public place.
• The State Government can also specify a multiplier to be applied to each fine covered in the Act. This multiplier should be between one to ten.
• New “Vahan” and “Sarthi” platforms will be used to create National Register for Vehicle Registration and National Register for Driving License. This will ensure harmony between registration and licensing process.
• Strengthening of driving training process to issue speedy transport licenses. This will address the shortage of commercial drivers in the country.
• Using of e-governance to improve the delivery of services to the stakeholders.
• The ambit of the Act will now include the testing agencies that issue automobile approval. This will ensure an effective regulation of the process of testing and certification of automobiles.
• In cases of road offences where juveniles are involved, the guardian/owner would be deemed responsible and the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled.
• Penalties would be imposed on drivers who do not make way for ambulances and emergency vehicles.
• Enabling of vehicle registration at the dealer’s end and restrictions to be imposed on temporary registration.
Here is the list of old and new Provision/Penalty as per the new Motor Vehicle Act:
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The revised Motor Vehicle Act will come close to offering a corruption free and transparent system that will aid in e-governance. Besides ensuring road safety, it will also deter flouting of traffic rules.