New Traffic Fines in India: Will They Sort Out Bad Driving Habits?
The stiffer penalties under the revised Motor Vehicles Act go into effect from 1 September, 2019.
Cameraperson: Mukul Bhandari
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
The revised motor vehicles act with stiffer penalties comes into effect from 1 September in India. If not good days, at least there’s some good news to bring about some discipline among road users in India.
Fines are quite stiff. For instance, it's now Rs 5,000 for driving without a licence. ANd if you are driving after then the fine is Rs 10,000 with a likely jail term. The fine for speeding has increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
Even the fine for not wearing a seatbelt and driving has gone up to Rs 1,000 from Rs 100 earlier. Will this bring about some change in Indian drivers? Maybe. I’ve seen many who just wear the seat belt or helmet when they spot a traffic constable.This is for your safety. Also, you’ve paid for your seatbelt, right? Use it.
But the new rules do not cover some basic issues with driving habits in India. Let’s just go over a few of these.
Driving With High Beam
These days cars have LED headlamps. These are bloody bright. For those of you who don’t know, there is a feature in your car, called the low beam. It shows you the road without blinding drivers ahead of you. Use it! You don’t have to turn on every damn light in the car. Sadly, there is no penalty for this.
The broken white lines you see on the road aren’t there for decoration. Pick your lane and stay in it. And if you have to change your lane, then use the indicator. Your car probably has the lane-change indicator feature. So far, there isn’t any strict rule for lane enforcement.
Use your rear-view mirrors. You’ve paid for them. Whether it’s power-folding or manually adjustable, use them. There should be a law penalising drivers for driving with folded mirrors. In fact, the requirement of mirrors is there in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. It just needs to be enforced.
Do you know what tailgating means? It’s not that your car has a tailgate or boot. It means don't follow the car ahead too closely. It means keep distance from the car ahead of you. At least one car’s length of space. The problem is, if someone maintains that distance, an autorickshaw squeezes into the gap. That is something that has to be addressed.
Pedestrians Get Right of Way
Give way to pedestrians. In fact, when you go to apply for your driving licence they tell you that pedestrians get right of way, especially if they are crossing the road at a zebra crossing. Go anywhere abroad and see how it works. Cars come to a halt to let pedestrians cross. In India, it’s a suicide mission!
There are many more such concerns. Can we have stricter laws for these as well, besides the new provisions? Drive safe people. Belt up and drive or wear a helmet and ride. Let’s change the way India drives, one driver at a time. Can we?
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