My title is: Governance | Government policies for various sectors | Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019
Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019
2019-10-03 | 8 minutes
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019 aims to
- make the existing laws stringent by increasing penalties for traffic rule infringement,
- improve road safety,
- simplify the dealings of citizens with transport departments,
- bring transparency into the system of issuing licenses,
- reinforce rural transport, public transport, and last-mile connectivity
by leveraging automation, information technology, and online services.
- Provisions for an increase in the penalty for road safety offences:
- Increase in designated penalties for violating common road safety offences
- The penalty for general traffic offences is increased from Rs 100 to minimum of Rs 500
- The penalty for violation of rules of road regulation is increased from Rs 100 to minimum of Rs 500
- The penalty for travel without a ticket is increased from Rs 200 to minimum of Rs 500
- The penalty for disobedience of orders of authorities is increased from Rs 500 to minimum of Rs 2000
- The penalty for unauthorized use of vehicles without a license is increased from Rs 1000 to minimum of Rs 5000
- The penalty for driving without a license is increased from Rs 500 to minimum of Rs 5000
- The penalty for driving despite disqualification is increased from Rs 500 to minimum of Rs 10,000
- The penalty for oversize vehicles is newly introduced to a minimum of Rs 5,000
- The penalty for overspeeding is increased from Rs 400 to a minimum of Rs 1,000 for L.M.Vs and Rs 2000 for medium passenger vehicles.
- The penalty for dangerous driving is increased from Rs 1000 to up to Rs 5,000.
- The penalty for drunken driving is increased from Rs 2000 to minimum of Rs 10,000
- The penalty for speeding/racing is increased from Rs 500 to minimum of Rs 5,000
- The penalty for a vehicle without a permit is increased from up to Rs 5000 to a limit of up to Rs 10,000
- The penalty to the amount of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh has been newly introduced, applicable to aggregators of vehicles, for violation of licensing conditions,
- The penalty for overloading is increased from Rs 2,000 basic and Rs 1000 per extra tonne, to a minimum of Rs 2,000 basic and Rs 2000 per extra tonne.
- The penalty for overloading of passengers is proposed at Rs 1000 per extra passenger.
- The penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is increased from Rs 100 to minimum of Rs 1,000
- The penalty for overloading of two-wheelers is increased from Rs 100 to a minimum of Rs 2,000 plus disqualification of licence for three months.
- The penalty for not wearing helmets is increased from Rs 100 to minimum of Rs 1,000 plus disqualification of licence for three months.
- The penalty to the amount of Rs 10,000 has been newly introduced, for not providing way for emergency vehicles.
- The penalty for driving without insurance is increased from Rs 1000 to minimum of Rs 2,000
- Newly introduced categories of penalties:
- In cases of offences by juveniles, it is proposed that the guardian/ owner shall be deemed to be guilty. Further, a fine of Rs 25,000 with three years imprisonment will be administered. The juvenile will be tried under the JJ act. Additionally, the registration of the motor vehicle is liable to be canceled.
- The officers can suspend driving licenses under section 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, 194E.
- Section 210 B, related to offences committed by enforcing authorities, the act proposes the application of twice the penalty under the relevant section.
- Provisions in cases of road accidents:
- Golden hour: The act proposes that victims of road accidents be provided with free medical treatment within the first critical hour or the golden hour, which can significantly improve their chances of survival and recovery.
- Good Samaritan: In case of fellow citizens who come to the rescue or support of accident victims, the bill proposes that they be spared the risk of harassment by way of civil or criminal proceedings, and protected by the central government if required.
- Insurance: The act proposes that the liability cap for road accident victims under third party insurance be multiplied ten times from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
- Hit and run cases: The act proposes an eight-fold increase in the penalty on the driver for injuries and the death of victims, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000 and from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2L respectively.
- A re-introduced clause states that the claim petition must be filed strictly within six months from the date of the accident, as opposed to the earlier amended clause where a claim could have been filed at any point in time.
- Provisions related to the regulation of automobiles:
- Rules applicable to manufacturers: The government will have the right to ask automobile manufacturers to recall particular models of vehicles if it causes harm to the environment in any manner.
- Rules applicable to vehicle owners: The act proposes that all public transport vehicles older than 15 years will have to undergo regular fitness tests to verify whether they are in suitable running condition to spare harm to the environment or the citizens.
- A newly introduced section places liability on the contractor, concessionaire, or designated authority in case of their failure to adhere to the stipulated design and standards of vehicles, resulting in death or injury.
- Provisions related to regulations applicable to drivers:
- To check corruption at the level of issuance of driving licenses, and bring greater transparency to the process, the act proposes the introduction of technology to reduce human interface and thereby the risk of corrupt practices.
- The act also allows for a higher tenure of licenses and a greater time period for renewal of licenses.
- In case of licenses suspended or revoked under section 19, the driver will be required to undergo a driving refresher training course for license revival. Further, his traffic offences can be compounded under section 200.
- Additionally, by way of amendment to section 200, punishment in the form of community service (unpaid work) can be meted out to the offender for an offense committed under this act.
Need for the act:
In view of growing urbanization and usage of private automobiles and vehicles, India’s vehicular traffic has been growing at an extreme rate. Compounded by shortcomings in infrastructure, loopholes in the laws governing vehicle usage and inadequate enforcement mechanisms, the conditions result in a dismal record of road safety for Indian citizens. To complicate the situation, the widespread prevalence of corrupt practices in the process of issuing driving licenses had resulted in over 30% of driving licenses issued in India being fake.
An average of 1.5 lakh people loses their life due to road accidents every year, with many more suffering injuries. The situation was only being aggravated by inadequate insurance coverage for the victims and disciplinary provisions applied to the offenders.
The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2019 has been much needed, to strengthen the laws and deter citizens as well as authorities from violating road safety and traffic regulations.
With enhancing stringency of the existing rules and penalty structures as a deterrent, the act has been foresighted enough to introduce several new provisions with regards to Insurance, Juvenile offenders and Aggregators, and thereby widen the scope of accountability at a systemic level.
While the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act of 2019 may have been the subject of debate among specific stakeholders in the matters of stringency of its provisions, the general consensus among the public is that it is an important step forward in improving the road safety record and in meeting India's international commitments under the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped that Indian roads will be much safer in the days to come.