#NewsBytesExplainer: How will Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill affect you
With an eye on making Indian roads safer, Rajya Sabha passed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, on Wednesday. The Bill, tabled by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, got 108 votes in its favor and 13 against it. It was passed in Lok Sabha on July 23 but will be re-sent there because of a typo. Here's how this Bill will impact you.
Tabled in 2017, Bill lapsed earlier this year
The fresh Bill will amend provisions of the already existing Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. It was first tabled in the Lower House in 2017, but couldn't get a nod from the Rajya Sabha. Eventually, with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, the Bill got lapsed. But now it is all set to become a law once the President signs it.
Gadkari said changes will make Indian roads safer
The Bill proposes increasing penalties for a flurry of traffic violations. Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari said apart from making Indian roads safer, the Bill will also facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments and strengthen rural as well as public transport.
Now, you'll have to pay more for violating traffic rules
The increase in penalties is one of the most prominent changes which the Bill proposed. For example, for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, the driver will have to pay Rs. 10,000, as opposed to Rs. 2,000 earlier. For rash driving, the penalty was increased to Rs. 5,000 from Rs. 1,000. Driving without insurance will attract a penalty of Rs. 2,000.
Interestingly, driving without helmet or seat-belts will also become costlier
In a welcome move, the Bill also increases the penalty for driving without a helmet. The biker's license will be suspended for three months, and he/she will have to pay Rs. 1,000 if caught driving without a helmet. Likewise, driving without a seat-belt will invite a penalty of Rs. 1,000, as opposed to Rs. 100 now. Talking on the phone while driving would attract a fine of Rs. 5,000.
Guardians of juveniles will face action for their offenses
Furthermore, the Bill underlines that guardians will be held responsible in case a juvenile violates traffic norms unless they prove they had no knowledge of the act. The vehicle's registration will be canceled and the juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act. The Bill also proposes a fine of Rs. 10,000 for not giving way to emergency vehicles, like ambulances.
Contractors will be held liable for faulty road designs
Apart from tightening the grip around drivers, the Bill also proposes strict action against contractors, consultants, and civic agencies for faulty design which leads to accidents. If a contractor doesn't comply with design, he/she could be asked to pay a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh. Moreover, the Centre may increase fine listed under the Act by up to 10% every year.
Government increased compensation for deaths due to accidents
Moreover, for deaths in road accident cases, the government will provide a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh. Currently, this amount is merely Rs. 25,000. Similarly, compensation for injured was increased from Rs. 12,500 to Rs. 50,000. The Bill also mentions that "Good Samaritans" will not face criminal or civil action for injury/death of an accident victim caused due to their negligence in providing assistance.
Soon, all road users will get insurance
The Bill directs Centre to form Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users. Further, it also allows Centre to recall vehicles which can cause damage to the environment or put the driver as well as other road users at risk. Interestingly, Aadhaar card has been made mandatory for obtaining a license or for getting a vehicle registered.