The Lok Sabha has recently passed the new Motor Vehicle Bill under which, 68 out of the current 223 sections have been amended. This is a serious step taken by the Government of India to find a solution to the alarming number of road fatalities. The scenario is even grimmer with the fact that India has the highest number of road fatalities in the world.
The new bill will allow the government to modify or amend any norm for the better application of rules and improved citizen centric services. The bill will also define a clear guideline for the taxi aggregators for amending the existing categories of driver licensing, recall of vehicles in case of defects, protection of good Samaritans from any civil or criminal action and the obvious increase of penalties under the 1988 Act.
e-Governance has got a major shot in the arm through the establishment of online learning licenses. e-Governance has also made it possible for increasing validity period for driving licenses via the online portal. The new amendment has also done away with the educational eligibility criteria for licenses.
As per the new bill, several clauses related to road accidents have been changed. For instance, if a minor is caught driving and in a worst case scenario, if he/she gets involved in an accident, then the parents or the guardians will be held responsible. The act will be penalized with a three-year jail term or a fine of Rs 25,000 or both for the responsible adults and at the same time, the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled. The compensation awarded for the accident victim’s families will be increased by 10-fold. In case of serious injury, Rs 5 lakh compensation will be awarded, wherein the said amount will not be the upper limit and the option to withdraw the case or appeal further will rest with the affected family. In case of death, Rs 10 lakh will be compensated to the family of the victim under the ‘No Fault Liability’.
Rs 500 have been replaced by Rs 5000 for driving without a licence, and Rs 2000 has been replaced by Rs 10000 for drunken driving. For over speeding, the fine has been raised from Rs 400 to Rs 1000 for LMVs (light motor vehicles) and Rs 2000 for passenger vehicles. The amendment also recommends protective headgear for children aged four and above. Riding without a helmet will attract a fine of Rs 1000 with the cancellation of licence for three months. Jumping a red light or unfastened seat belt will also attract Rs 1000. Talking on a mobile phone while driving will now attract a fine of Rs 5000. For hit-and-run accident cases, Rs 2 lakh will be compensated in an event of death and Rs 50,000 in case of an injury.
The Parliament Standing Committee has also agreed on a proposal to eliminate the cap on third party liability of insurance firms. The states are also optionally given the power to carry out vehicle registration by authorized automobile dealers. A proposal has been sanctioned to establish a National Register for vehicles and driving licences which would issue unique registration numbers and remove duplication. The new Act also empowers the Centre to recall vehicles that have sub-standard components or engine. The offending vehicle manufacturer could be penalized up to Rs 500 crore.