On 10th April 2017, the Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2017. The amendment’s draft was put forward in the lower house of the Parliament in August 2016 to impose an updated law for better results in the field of road safety. The amendments were targeted towards bringing changes in the current condition of unsafe roads to encourage safer driving practices among Indian Motor Vehicle Drivers by imposing stricter laws and higher penalties. The amendment, approved by PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet on Aug 2016 which aims to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities resulting from the same. If we talk about the current condition of Indian road safety, one serious road accident in the country occurs every minute and 16 dies on Indian roads every hour. 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 lac road accidents are reported. There are 223 Sections out of which the Bill has tried to amend 68 sections.
Some major changes in the law are:
- Mandatory Aadhaar for centralization of the whole system.
- For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the government will provide a compensation of Rs 2 lacs or more to the victim's family. Currently, the amount is just Rs 25,000.
- People fear to help an accident victim from getting into additional trouble. MV Act 2016 promises to keep your identity secret in this case. Good Samaritans get extra secrecy.
- The Motor Vehicle Act ensures National Transportation Policy to establish a framework for road transportation planning discussing with state governments. Better roads for better security.
- Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, there is no limit for a third-party car or two-wheeler insurance. The Bill, however, amends to cap a maximum third-party legal liability to Rs. 10 lakh for death and Rs. 5 lakh for serious injuries.
- Compulsory automatic fitness training for vehicles reduces the chances of unsafe vehicles getting a permit to run on the roads. Safer vehicles to make safer roads.
- Electronic Monitoring will ensure better recognition of law violators and stricter actions against offenders.
In the parliament, the opposition questions about making the Aadhar mandatory and questions the centralization after different faults of the Aadhar has already been noticed by everyone. But beyond this factor, the MV Amendment 2017 demands compulsion of Aadhar. The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill (MVA Bill) has provisions which open up the public transport sector for the private companies and also control and regulate permits and taxation. Public Transportation System at present is under the direct control of the State Government, State Transport Undertakings (STUs). These STUs offer traveling facilities at low rates as compared to private buses. If the private sector interferes in this sector, it may create more difficulty for the public and will be a threat to the job security of the employees working under State Transport Undertakings.
Because the jobs of employees working under STUs are under threat because of this bill, the opposition strongly protested against this bill in the parliament. These are the main restrictions the MV Act 2017 is facing.
While all this resistances are working against the MV Bill, it actually is working towards less corruption in the field of transportation and road safety. The centralization of driving licenses will help fight duplicate driving licenses or even more than one driving licenses for an individual for different states. Also, centralized monitoring, e-registration, and the national database will help to fight corruption on a massive level.
The MV Act 2017 looks forward to reducing the road accidents all over India by 50% by 2022 by stricter laws than ever before and centralization of driver’s registration, giving more power to centre, private sectors. With the cooperation of the massive youth of the nation, this law looks forward to a bright future in the field of road safety.