Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill proposed earlier has now been passed by the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As per the amendments, the new bill will imply a hefty fine on traffic defaulters. One of the notable changes to the Motor Vehicle Act includes a penalty of Rs 10,000 to those who do not give way to an ambulance on the road.
The much sought reform in the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 will bring a similar fine on those driving with a suspended license, a new report citing a government official mentions. Such penalties will range across offences like drunken driving, dangerous driving, over-speeding and overloading. Aggregators violating driving licences can further be fined up to Rs 1 lakh under the new bill.
Assessed by the Standing Committee of Parliament, the proposals were earlier put forward by transport ministers from 18 Indian states. It was earlier passed in Lok Sabha and awaited approval in Rajya Sabha till today. Here are some of the fines to be imposed upon traffic rules violation as per the bill:
Over Speeding – Rs 1000 to Rs 2000
Driving without insurance – Rs 2000
Driving without helmet – Rs 1000 + 3-months license suspension
Disobedience of the orders of authorities – Rs 2000
Unauthorised use of vehicles without a licence – Rs 5000
Driving despite disqualification – Rs 10,000
Dangerous driving – Rs 5000
Drunken driving – Rs 10,000
Driving without seat belts – Rs 1000
Overloading of vehicles – Rs 20,000
For offences committed by the enforcing authorities, the same fine can be doubled.
Interestingly, the amended law will now hold the guardian/owner of the vehicle guilty in case a juvenile is caught offending the traffic laws unless they can prove that they tried to prevent it or that the offence was committed without their knowledge. If not so, the guardian can face a three-year imprisonment, a penalty of Rs 25,000 and even the cancellation of the license of the vehicle. The juvenile can face trial under the Juvenile Justice Act.
The new laws also help the good samaritans — those who come forward to help accident victims, by providing them protection from civil or criminal liability. It will be their choice whether to disclose their identity to the police or medical personnel or not.
Along with the revised penalties, there are some notable changes on the licensing part as well. For instance, Aadhaar card will now be necessary for driving licenses as well as registration certificates of the vehicles. The 2016 Bill had put a cap for third-party insurance on the maximum liability, at Rs 10 lakh for death and Rs 5 lakh for grievous injury, which will now be removed. A Motor Vehicle Accident Fund will provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India, for certain types of accidents. Compensation of Rs 2 lakh or more will be provided to the victim’s family in cases of hit-and-run fatalities, up from the previous Rs 25,000.
It was high time that the government imposed such fines for a better accordance of traffic rules by the Indian motorists. Basic road etiquette like giving way to ambulances will now hopefully be adhered to. Interestingly, Hong Kong showed a shining example of this recently, when millions of protesters stood aside within seconds to let an ambulance pass.