A recent report released by the Ministry of Road Transport in India gives out a terrifying figure of the number of fatalities by road crashes in the year 2015. The number of deaths due to road accidents last year is not in thousands but in lakhs. Yes, you will be surprised to know but the figures hint that nearly 17 people lost their lives on roads every hour in India and what comes out to be more alarming is that among 1,46,133 people who became the victim of road accidents last year 50% were from the age group of 15-34. To curb this menacing problem and the havocking traffic jams, the government of India has made the traffic rules more stringent by increasing the rates of penalties by up to 10 times of the current cost. The amended Road Safety Bill 2016 has been passed in the current Rajya Sabha session along with the much hyped and sensational GST bill.
The official reports state that nearly 5,00,000 road accidents took place last year in which nearly 1.5 lakh people succumb to their injuries. This death toll has seen an increase of around 4.6% as compared to the data of the year 2014. The hiked number of road accidents and deaths can be due to the worsening traffic conditions and negligence of traffic rules. However experts have a different opinion on the same. According to them, poorly designed roads call for maximum number of road accidents, where Mumbai stands first in place by registering highest number of road casualties on its name (23,468) and the national capital comes first in number of life fatalities (1622), majority of which were the two-wheelers.
Considering these facts and understanding the severity of the issue, the Union Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the amended Motor Vehicle Bill 2016. These rules are aimed to bring a considerable fall in the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50% in the next 5 years. Heavy penalties and fines will be imposed on the traffic offenders that can go up to 10 times of the actual fine. Let's have a look at some of the major excerpts of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016:
- In hit and run case, the compensation has increased to Rs. 2 lakh from Rs. 25,000, whereas up to Rs. 10 lakh will be compensated in case of road accidents fatalities.
- Juveniles involved in hit and run case will be tried under the JJ Act. Also the guardian/owner of the vehicle will be punished alongside cancellation of the motor vehicle license.
- Without helmet riders will be charged Rs. 1,000 in place of Rs. 100. Repeated offence of the rule can result in disqualification of the owner/rider's license for 3 months.
- Drink and drive penalty has tossed up to Rs. 10,000 from Rs. 2,000.
- Without seatbelt in a 4-wheeler will invite a fine of Rs. 1,000 in place of Rs. 100.
- Drivers/riders not giving way to the ambulance will also be fined.
- The state government can apply a multiplier, which will not be less than 1 and not greater than 10, to be imposed on each penalty under this act.
- Road activities can be regulated by the state government in the public places.
- Issuing of transport license will be faster now with more strengthened driving training process.
- Online learning licenses, fulfilling requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses and increasing the driving licenses' validity period can now be done online.
The complete list of proposed amendments in different penalties under various sections is as follows:
Though the date of implementation of these bills has not been disclosed, we expect them to be imposed soon so as bring a considerable change in the number of road accidents and the chaotic traffic conditions. In the same direction, the state government of Maharashtra has introduced 1% safety cess so as to control the increasing road accidents in the state.