New Motor Vehicles Bill is Here: Will It Make Indian Roads Safer?

The changes in fine are heftier & there are severe punishments as well but will the cops implement it the right way.

Published01 Aug 2019, 05:59 PM IST
Car and Bike
2 min read

Cameraperson: Mukul Bhandari
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar

The Union Cabinet has approved the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill that proposes hefty penalties for violation of traffic laws. The government aims to reduce accidents and fatalities on road by 50 percent in the next five years with this bill.

This has been a long time coming. This 2017 Bill, which was pending for approval in the Rajya Sabha, lapsed after the term of the 16th Lok Sabha ended.

Going by the number of accidents in the latest Road Accidents in India report by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry, there were a total of 4,80,652 accidents in India in 2016 leading to about 1.5 lakh deaths. Given these numbers, the new Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill aims to curb accidents with stiffer penalties.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill has made some significant changes to the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 (which in itself is a revised one). Under the new Bill, as seen in the chart above, the fines for drunk driving or driving after being disqualified have been sharply increased from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000.

In addition, not giving way to emergency service vehicles such as ambulances, fire services or police vehicles will entail a stiff penalty of Rs 10,000. This provision was not there in the earlier Act.

Manufacturers can no longer pass off substandard or defective vehicles to consumers. The Bill provides for mandatory recall of vehicles, if it is proven to be a danger to other road users.

They will have to reimburse buyers with the full cost of the vehicle, provide a replacement and could also pay fines of up to Rs 500 crore. At the moment, recalls are only voluntary for vehicle manufacturers.

In addition, the new Bill now recognises taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber and imposes hefty fines if they are found to be violating norms of operation. This provision wasn’t there in the earlier Act. Now we’re hopeful that all these changes could finally ensure that people drive sensibly on the roads and take care of other’s safety.

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