In a much needed reform, the government is all set to implement modified and stringent traffic norms aimed at ending the traffic woes in the country. Currently, India deals with a number of traffic woes including road safety, reckless behaviour of drivers on the road, rash and negligent driving, etc. However, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill which is yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha, is an important legislation and can prove to be the panacea of traffic woes in India. It can potentially change the way India travels and improve the overall road safety.
Some of the major features of the proposed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill are:-
Linking your Aadhar Card with the Driving License will be mandatory. Aadhar Card will be made mandatory for obtaining Driving License or vehicle registration certificate. This is going to check forged and fake driving licenses. It will also help in checking multiplicity of Driving License belonging to the same person. Moreover, with the Driving License being linked to Aadhar, the applicants will not be able to defraud the Traffic Police authorities by providing a fake address.
In another landmark reform, parents, guardians or vehicle owners will be responsible for the offences committed by juveniles, unless it is proved before the court that the offence was committed without their knowledge. The authorities will be entitled to cancel the registration of such vehicles and the juveniles will be prosecuted under the Juvenile Justice Act. This is going to be a much needed step towards taking minors and those ineligible to drive off the roads. It also opens a channel for fixing liability on those who are in charge of minors to prevent them from driving any vehicle.
One major issue as far as road safety is concerned that those who witness an accident don’t usually come to the rescue of victims fearing that this might expose them to legal hassles and in the worst case scenario, to criminal or civil liability. However, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill is going to end this and it will protect those who help accident victims from criminal or civil liability. Moreover, it will be optional for such persons to disclose their identity before the police or hospital staff.
Apart from this, the amount of fine has been increased for a number of offences. Penalty for drunk driving will be increased five times from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000. Similarly, penalty for rash driving or driving without a valid license will be increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000. Fine for overspeeding or not wearing a seatbelt will also be increased five times to Rs. 2,000.
Motor Vehicles Accident Fund will be created that will provide insurance cover for certain type of accidents to all road users across India. In hit and run cases, compensation for the victim family will be increased from the current Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2,00,000. Moreover, liability will be fastened over Civic agencies, consultants and road builders for accidents arising out of poor road quality and designing.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and it is expected that it will also be passed in the Rajya Sabha in the ongoing Parliament session. This is yet another reform by the the Modi government in a direction which was ignored by the previous governments. The miserable condition of poor road quality was always a worry but it is for the first time that its being acknowledged and appropriate measures are being taken.
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