The Motor Vehicle Act, the MV Act 1988 of the Parliament of India regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles. But it is being practised with its own insufficiencies and a lot of aspects that needs to be changed in the current time. This act is currently handling all legal aspects of using any motor vehicle on Indian roads, from driving license to penalties. But certain aspects of the act needs to be updated to be relevant in the current time.
Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017, approved by PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet on Aug, 2017 which aims to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities resulting from them. If we talk about the current condition of Indian road safety, one serious road accident in the country occurs every minute and 16 die on Indian roads every hour. 20 children under the age of 14 die every day due to road crashes in in the country. Road crash fatalities have increased by 3% from 2015 to 2016. If we talk about fatal road accidents, there is a sharp rise from 131,726 fatal accidents in 2015 to 136,071 fatal accidents in 2016. A total of 134,796 fatal accidents were reported in 2017. According to government statistics, every year 5 lakh road accidents are reported.
In the present Motor Vehicle Act, there are 223 Sections out of which the Bill has tried to amend 68 sections. The making of new provisions in the MV Act 2017 is to simplify the third party insurance claims and settlement process. The new provision ensures higher penalties and higher compensation for hit and run cases. The Motor Vehicle Bill proposes insertion of 28 new sections. Introductions of these new amendments are to improve road safety and citizens ease. They also focus on making the roads and the current road-infrastructure better and better connectivity all around the nation. It focuses on strengthening rural transport automation and computerization, enabling online services too.
The following are key highlights of the bill:
- Higher Penalties imposition on traffic rules violations
- Cashless Treatment for Road Accident Victims
- Increased Compensation for The Family of The Deceased
- Inclusion of Good Samaritan Guidelines
- National Transportation Policy
- Compulsory Insurance
- Recognition of Offences Committed by Juveniles
- Automated Fitness Training for Vehicles
- National Registry for Licenses and Registrations
- Electronic Monitoring
While, the new Motor Vehicle Amendment bill of 2017 faces different difficulties in the way of approval. The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill (MV Bill) has provisions which opens up the public transport sector for the private companies and also control and regulate permits and taxation. It also aims to giving more power to the Central government.
The Bill was deliberated upon in Rajya Sabha witnessed resistance of the Bill from many political parties of the opposition and the Bill is yet to be passed by Parliament. The Bill Proposes introduction of section 66A to create a National Transportation Policy in consultation with the states for which a consultative mechanism would be put in place.
With the sudden burst of number of vehicles on the roads with our increasing GDP and increasing affordability of automobiles, there are more accidents happening on the roads of India than ever before. The next generation will have to face a massive amount of traffic on the roads and a massive number of near-death experiences on roads too. So this Amendment in Motor Vehicle Act might be the much needed step to make our roads safer than ever.
Every year India spends almost 3% of its GDP in road accidents which is a huge value. With safer and better roads situations can be improved. Also with amendments like stricter laws ,higher penalties on violation and the increment in compensation, the government might be able to curb the number of deaths due to road accidents, hence the goal of a safer India might be achieved.
Here are some key highlights of the increased penalties as proposed by the bill:
- For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the government will provide a compensation of Rs 2 lakh or more to the victim's family. Currently, the amount is just Rs 25,000.
- The minimum fine for drunk driving has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
- The fine for rash driving has been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
- Driving without a licence will attract a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 as against Rs 500 at present.
- The fine for over-speeding will go up from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000-2,000.
- Not wearing seatbelt would attract a fine of Rs 1,000 as against Rs 100 at present.
- Talking on a mobile phone while driving will attract a fine of Rs 5,000, up from Rs 1,000.
Making the laws stricter, to spend on the betterment of the current infrastructure of the roads can bring a dramatic change in the current statistics of India’s road safety.