Vehicles as a means of transportation are being used in our country even before the Britishers invaded India. A systematic approach towards roads and vehicles came after India became a British colony. Hence, there was a need for some rules, regulations, and laws related to the code of conduct on roads. So the first Indian Motor Vehicle Act was introduced in 1914, for easy and accurate administration.
The "Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914" was central legislation passed and applicable in British India. It had 18 sections and gave local governments the responsibility of registering and licensing vehicles and motorists and enforcing regulations. It was replaced by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, which came into force in 1940.
With the rise in technology and progress of the country, the laws also needed modifications which led to the latest Motor Vehicle Act was proposed in 1988.
In 2017, the amended act of MVs was passed by Lok Sabha but is currently on hold at Rajyasabha.
96% believe that passage of the Bill would help meet the UN mandate to reduce road accidents up to 50% by 2020, according to a survey conducted by Consumer Voice, an organization involved in policy-making and complaints redressal.
97% people believe that the Bill should be supported by all the parties since it is important to bring down fatalities due to road accidents, currently one of the highest in the world at 1.46 lakh annually.
The bill has added many new sections and amendments in some already existing sections.
The various differences between the new and the older MV act are as follows:
1) The act wants to make Aadhaar Card mandatory for getting a driving license and vehicle registration.
2) For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the current compensation is as low as just Rs.25,000. This act proposes an increased compensation of Rs 2 lacs or more to the victim's family.
3) In traffic violations by juveniles, the guardians or owner of the vehicle would be held accountable unless they prove the offense was committed without their knowledge or they tried to prevent it. The registration of the motor vehicle in question will be canceled. The juvenile will also be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act.
4) The bill has provision for the protection of Good Samaritans. Those who come forward to help accident victims will be protected from civil or criminal liability. It will be optional for them to disclose their identity to the police or medical personnel.
5) The minimum fine for drunk driving has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
6) The fine for rash driving has been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
7) Driving without a license will attract a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 as against Rs 500 at present.
8) The fine for over-speeding will go up from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000-2,000.
9) Not wearing a seatbelt would attract a fine of Rs 1,000 as against Rs 100 at present.
10) Talking on a mobile phone while driving will attract a fine of Rs 5,000, up from Rs 1,000.
11) A Motor Vehicle Accident Fund will provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
12) It will be mandatory to alter vehicles to make them suitable for specially-abled people.
13) Contractors, consultants, and civic agencies will be accountable for faulty design, construction or poor maintenance of roads leading to accidents.
14) A time limit of six months has been specified for an application of compensation to the Claims Tribunal with regard to road accidents.
15) The Bill removes the cap on liability for third-party insurance. The 2016 Bill had capped the maximum liability at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and Rs 5 lakh in case of grievous injury.
17) Once made, people usually tend to forget to renew their license. And just a month is a very short time for renewal, so the limit for renewal of a driving license is increased from one month to one year before and after the expiry date.
18) Compromise in the quality of components required in vehicles may lead to some disastrous incidents plus environment degradation. The act has a provision in which the government can recall vehicles whose components or engine do not meet the required standards. Manufacturers can be fined up to Rs 500 crore in case of sub-standard components or engine.
Here’s an in short comparison between the M.V.A 1988 and the M.V. Amendment bill 2017
As it can be easily observed that there's a huge difference between the old MV act and the amendments proposed. Lok Sabha has passed the proposed amendments, but Rajyasabha has kept it on hold. The changes which will come along with the passage of this bill might be the key element towards the reduction in the number of deaths due to road accidents.