Recently, the Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to discipline the country’s traffic system by incorporating a five-fold increase in the spot fines and even jail term for violators.
The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to amend the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) to provide a strong deterrent against drunken driving, jumping red light, speeding, use of mobile phones behind wheels and illegal parking.
Even though India has just 1% share of world’s motor vehicles every year. More than 130,000 people die in road accidents every year in the country. Almost 1.27 million people sustain injuries.
Indian roads are dangerous because of increased number of vehicles on all big and small roads in the country. This is further aggravated by a lack of road safety education, which makes the road a dangerous place.
It is now been decided that amendments will be made to the Motor Vehicle Act to include the increased fines. It is no secret that when it comes to Indian roads pedestrians need to fight the fight against cars, buses, cycles, three wheel rickshaws, auto rickshaws, trucks, hand pulled carts, and at times even a heard of cows or the passing elephant. With traffic signals going kaput time and again, and those behind the wheels having very little regard for those walking along the situation is grim. A lack of pavements on many roads makes the situation even more dangerous.
PTI quoted an official who had this to say. “The union cabinet has approved the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act for harsher punishments for offences like drunken driving and violation of traffic rules and also increased compensation in accident cases.”
Drinking and driving while responsible for increased accidents is something that goes unpunished many a times. The new set of rules is meant to deal with drivers who are repeat offenders. Whether the increase in fines can act as a deterrent is yet to be proven. As of now, the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill increasing penalties manifold for traffic violations. Following are the highlights;
* Using mobile phones or iPads while driving: First offence – fine of Rs.500. Second offence – fine between Rs.2,000 and 5,000.
* Not wearing helmet (for two-wheeler drivers) or not wearing seatbelts (for Four-wheeler drivers) a penalty of Rs.500.
* In case of jumping a red light for the first time a penalty of Rs.500. It is to be noted that the penalty will be multiplied if the same violation will be repeated by same offender again.
* Offence of recklessly speeding the vehicle will be attracting a penalty of Rs 1,000.
* Drunken driving: Three categories and varying fines -
First category – 30-60 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; first offence would attract a fine of Rs.2,000 or six months in jail or both.
Second category – 60-150 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; first offence would invite fine of Rs.4,000 or one year jail term or. Second offence would attract fine of Rs.8,000 or three-years jail term or both.
Third category – over 150 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; first offence would invite fine of Rs.5,000 or two years in jail or both. The second offence would attract fine of Rs.10,000 or four years in jail or both. It could even lead to cancellation of the driving license.
* Death in road accident: Compensation to be hiked from Rs.25,000 to Rs.1 lakh; compensation of Rs.50,000 in case of serious injury.
The bill would be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during parliament’s budget session starting March 12.
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Also see - Indian Traffic Fines and Punishment