Union Cabinet approves Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill

The deplorable state of Indian road safety has been long questioned and very little has been really done on ground level to change the situation.

A lot of it is often blamed on the prevailing rules and regulations that either do not live up to today’s road standards or are just too lenient to have any effect on offenders.

However, taking one of the most concrete steps in Indian road safety, the Union Cabinet finally approved the much debated Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 that proposes stringent changes in laws and fines for road and vehicular safety.

With the bill finally set to see the light of the day, here is how the amendment is all set to change the fines, laws and norms, while helping reduce accidents and road fatalities which are the highest in India.

The new bill proposes to amend 68 out of 223 sections of the current Motor Vehicle Act.

So, if you are caught breaking traffic rules again, this is what you will end up paying as fines.

1. As part of the changes proposed, driving without a valid license will now attract a fine of 5000, instead of the current 1000. Similarly, driving without a valid insurance will attract a penalty of 2000, as opposed to the current 1000.

2. In case of over speeding, a fine of 1000 will be levied on light passenger vehicles, while medium passenger vehicles will pay 2000 for the same offense. The existing fine for over speeding stands at 400. Driving under influence or Drunken driving is a menace that has long plagued our roads and the bill proposes to curb that with a hefty fine of 10,000. The fine currently stands at 2000.

3. Bringing stringent safety norms for two-wheelers, riders caught without a helmet will now have to pay a fine of 1000 and cancellation of the driving license for three months. The amendment is a big step up from the current 100 fine, which barely amounts to anything. Similarly, driving without a seatbelt will now a fine of 1000, instead of the current 100 penalty.

4. A highly appreciable move in the bill is giving right of way to emergency vehicle. Those found blocking or not giving way to emergency vehicles will now have to pay a penalty of 10,000.

5. Another issue is underage drivers, which adults do not realize is a major offense considering everyone’s life is on the line with an inexperienced juvenile behind the steering wheel. To curb this issue strictly, the bill proposes that the accused will face trial under the Juvenile Justice Act, while the guardian will also also be held accountable and can face up to 3 years of imprisonment and 25,000 of fine. In addition, the registration of the vehicle used will be cancelled.

6. Other amendments include violation of road rules now attract a fine of 500, while disobedience with authorities will cost you 2000.

7. Fine for driving despite disqualification has also been increased to 10,000, a major jump from the current 1000. For those looking for competitive speed thrills on public roads, the bill proposes a fine of 5000, up from 500 for speeding and racing.

8. Another appreciated move is the compensation amount given in case of hit-and-run cases that has been increased to 2 lakh from 25,000, while the proposal has increased compensation value 10 lakh in case of fatalities in road accidents.

9. Other amendments include overloading vehicles that now attract a fine of 20,000 and 2000 per extra tonne, up from 2000 and 1000 per extra tonne. In case of overloading passenger vehicles, the fine amount has been increased to 1000 per extra passenger. Overloading of two wheelers won’t be ignored either with a fine of 2000 and disqualification of the license for three months. Currently, riders pay a paltry 100 fine for three passengers on a bike.

10. Lastly, the bill proposes a new law stating that violators of licensing conditions will end paying a fine between 25,000-1,00,000. Also, offenses committed by enforcing authorities will attract twice the penalty amount of the relevant section.