Lok Sabha passes bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act 1988

The Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill that will change various statutes and clauses of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. This same bill had been passed by the lower house back in April 2017, though the Rajya Sabha did not clear it then, which resulted in the bill getting lapsed.

The 2019 bill proposes the same changes to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 that the previous one did. These changes include stricter fines and penalties including community service as punishment, a driver refresher training course for those whose licenses lapse, a change in how long a license is valid, a clause that protects good Samaritans, liability of a contractor in case of a faulty road and lots more.

In particular, the section on fines for road traffic violations has caused quite a stir. Penalties have increased 2.5 times for offences such as overspeeding (from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000) while some have increased a whopping 10 times – driving without a license will now set you back Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 500.

The amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act are meant to reduce traffic accidents in India – our roads witness over 5,00,000 road accidents each year resulting in about 1,47,000 fatalities. Back in January, the International Road Federation (IRF) – a Geneva-based global road safety body that works towards better and safer roads worldwide – had urged the Indian government to enact the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill to improve road safety. Here’s hoping the upper house passes the bill this time around.