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23 Dec 2017

Drunk drivers causing death may get 7yrs in prison

New stricter laws on drunk-driving

Causing death by drunk-driving may soon land people in prison for up to seven years.

If the proposed legislation is cleared, traffic violators might also have to spend time with road accident victims in surgical OPDs to witness first-hand the pain caused to others.

Fifteen issues were addressed by the Transport Ministry while framing subordinate legislation under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.

In context

New stricter laws on drunk-driving
Presently, death due to drunk-driving is punishable by 2yrs' imprisonment


Presently, death due to drunk-driving is punishable by 2yrs' imprisonment

Presently, death caused by drunk-driving is punishable under Section 304A (death due to negligence) by up to two years' imprisonment and fine. The SC had termed it "absolutely inadequate".

A standing committee had recommended such drivers be tried for "culpable homicide", which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Transport Ministry had referred the matter to the Home Ministry.

According to Road Ministry, 18 deaths daily due to drunk-driving

According to NCRB, 1.5% of the 4.64L road accidents in 2015 were caused due to driving under influence, resulting in 2,988 deaths (more than eight daily). However, a Transport Ministry report for 2015 puts the number of fatalities at 6,755 - more than 18 daily.

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Legislation addresses insurance, speed and breathalyzer standards too

Apart from this, the legislation recommends mandating third-party insurance for all vehicles during registration.

At least two drivers would be compulsory for commercial vehicles travelling more than 500km.

The ministry will also frame rules on uniform standards for breathalyzers and speed of vehicles, especially those involved in racing and stunts.

A parliamentary panel has suggested deployment of body cameras on all traffic policemen.

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