India

Soon, drunk drivers will have to pay for damages

08 Apr 2017 | By Abheet Sethi
Drunk drivers may soon pay damages themselves

Insurance companies will no longer have to compensate victims of drunk driving accidents, according to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Instead, the entire amount for causing death/injury would have to be borne by the person driving under the influence.

Experts believe this provision would act as a deterrent. Others contend how low-income drivers would be able to pay.

In context: Drunk drivers may soon pay damages themselves

08 Apr 2017Soon, drunk drivers will have to pay for damages

Not murderDrunk drivers won't be charged under "culpable homicide"

In case of death caused by the drunk drivers, the provision of charging them under "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" hasn't been included by the road transport ministry.

It is a non-bailable offense with a 10-year prison sentence.

The ministry had accepted the parliamentary panel's recommendation for this but referred it to the Home Ministry as it requires an IPC amendment.

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What if accused driver can't afford compensation?

Possible problemWhat if accused driver can't afford compensation?

Experts fear that victims may get very little compensation if the accused driver is poor.

"Why is the government putting such a provision when it's aware of the income of professional drivers? This will indirectly benefit the insurance companies. Any single drunk driver hitting road is a failure of the government authorities," according to IFTRT, a Delhi-based think tank on transport issues.

DetailsWhat the new proposed law includes

Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the proposed law's objective is to decrease road fatalities by half.

The bill will ensure that offenses like juvenile driving, speeding and dangerous driving would attract stringent penalties such as jail terms and suspension of driving license.

Enforcement personnel who commit offenses would receive double penalties.

A provision for regulating taxi aggregators will also be included.

DataDrunk drivers kill nearly 45 people every day in India

In 2015, 6,755 people were killed by those driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, according to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways' Road Accident in India Report, 2015.

These constitute 3.3% of the total 1,46,133 road accident deaths.

Persons driving under the influence were responsible for 3.3% (16,298) out of the total 5,01,423 accidents.