As the far-reaching Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 inches closer to reality, here are 7 key points you need to know.
Late last evening, the Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 (MVAB 2019). The three amendments introduced to the bill in the Rajya Sabha will be scrutinised in the Lok Sabha, and if approved, the bill will be sent to the President for final approval. Should the bill be ratified in its current form, it will have far-reaching implications across the full spectrum of road transportation in India. Read on to know how.
Fines for traffic offences: To ensure stricter adherence to traffic norms, the MVAB 2019 proposes a multi-fold increase in the quantum of punishment for traffic offences. The government’s view is that the steep fines will act as a deterrent for offenders. Some of the new penalties are listed below -
New proposed penalty/provision
Driving without license
Driving despite disqualification
Rs 1000 (light motor vehicle)
Rs 2000 (medium passenger vehicle)
Rs 1000 per extra passenger
Rs 2000; license disqualification for 3 months
Rs 1000; license disqualification for 3 months
Not providing way to emergency vehicle
Driving without insurance
Offences by juveniles
Guardian/vehicle owner deemed guilty - Rs 25,000 with 3 years imprisonment. Vehicle registration cancelled. Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act
Offenses committed by enforcing agencies
Double of applicable penalty
The proposal includes a provision that allows the government to increase fines by 10 percent each year.
Protection of good samaritans: As per the proposal, persons who provides emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a road accident victim will be safeguarded from any harassment from law enforcement or medical officials. The aim is to ensure an accident victim can receive requisite assistance and/or access to a medical facility in the crucial ‘golden hour’.
Motor Vehicle Accident Fund: The proposal requires the government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund that insures all road users in India. The fund will be used for cashless treatment of road accident victims in the golden hour, compensation of persons injured in a hit-and-run accident, and compensation to representatives of a victim killed in a hit-and-run case, among any other compensation prescribed by the government.
Third party insurance: The proposal includes a ten-fold increase in insurance compensation, from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh, and a simplified claims process. Insurance firms will have to clear claims within a month. The minimum compensation for victims grievously injured in hit-and-run accident will also be upped from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000, and for representatives of persons killed in a hit-and-run accident, the compensation will be increased from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
Driving license: The bill proposes to make Aadhar Card as a mandatory identity proof for driver licenses. The bill also proposes a ‘computerised’ driving test to guard against fake driving licenses and ill-qualified drivers taking to the roads. However, the finer details of this proposal are awaited. The bill also mentions opening of driver training schools, though again exact details haven’t been spelled out.
Vehicle recalls: The Bill allows the government to order a recall if it is deemed that the vehicle in question is a threat to the driver and/or other road users, or is damaging to the environment. As per the bill, manufacturers will be liable to replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications, or reimburse buyers the full cost of the vehicle. Further, if a manufacturer fails to comply with vehicle standards it could be fined to the tune of Rs 100 crore, with executives also liable for imprisonment up to one year.
Road Safety Board: The Bill proposes the creation of a Road Safety Board that would advise central and state governments on all aspects of road safety. Promotion of new technology will also come under the gambit of the Road Safety Board.
The Bill also proposes changes to the process of vehicle registration with the aim to reduce corruption at the RTO; fining road contractors up to Rs 1 lakh for failing to comply with road standards; establishing new standard for vehicle fitness; and requirement of cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber to be issued licenses and compliance with the IT Act, 2000.
How well the proposals will be implemented and how much a difference will it make to the Indian road-scape remains unknown. The potential for change, however, is undeniably huge.
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