With the new Motor Vehicle (Amended) Act being enforced with new increased penalties and multiple traffic violations being reported since September 1. One man on a motorcycle is being charged with five misdemeanours and violations that racked up a cost of Rs 23,000. The charges include riding without a helmet, no registration, license, pollution certificate or insurance. Some states in India still have not adopted the new penalties for traffic violations claiming that they are too harsh.
The five common road and traffic violations that are reported and fined in India begin from Rs 1,000 to around Rs 10,000 depending on the violation. Just for reference, here is what these same violations could set you back by in certain states n the US. We fully understand that the per-capita-income in the US is higher than it is in the US, and the US legal or Justice system follows a different system where each state has its own laws. This is an Apple and Oranges comparison.
Using a mobile phone while driving
Under the new MVA in India, using a phone while driving is a traffic violation that is charged with a fine of Rs 2,000 – 10,000 which has been increased from Rs 1,000. In the US, three states don’t even have laws prohibiting the use of mobile phone, but should you get caught in the state of Alaska while texting, you could be charged with a maximum penalty of $10,000 (~Rs 7.23 lakh) and up to one year in prison.
Speeding is claimed to be one of the biggest contributors to road fatalities in India. Under the new penalties, Speeding on Indian roads will land you a fine of Rs 1,000 – 2,000, larger vehicles may be subject to higher penalties of up to Rs 4,000. When you look at the state of Virginia in the US is the strictest against driving over the speed limit. The maximum speed you can do in Virginia is 80mph (~130kmph), should you exceed that you could be imposed with a maximum ticket of $2,500 (~Rs 1,8 lakh) and should you be driving recklessly, you could even land up in jail for up to 1 year.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and Driving or driving under the influence of intoxicants or drugs/narcotics or alcohol is globally considered an offence. In India, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 30 mg./100ml is considered a violation and sees a maximum fine of Rs 10,000, with a court appearance and license disqualification for 3 months as per Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety recommendations. In the US, the BAC is .08g/dL. Depending on the states, penalties may vary, but includes license suspension from 90 days to a year, An ignition interlock system that is a breathalyser kit fitted to the ignition of the vehicle that wouldn’t allow the vehicle to start without the driver blowing into the breathalyser and provide an acceptable reading.
Driving without a License
If you’re not permitted to drive, or unlicensed to drive in India, the fine for that is Rs 5,000. In the US it is considered a misdemeanour which can be punishable by fines that could range from $100-1,000, (~Rs 7,230-72,300) community service and in some cases a short jail term. Drive with a revoked or suspended license in India, the driver is imposed with a fine of Rs 5,000. In the US it is considered a serious offence as a driver can expect to be arrested, the vehicle would be impounded, suspension time on the license would be increased, charged with steeper fines and/or do some jail time.
Riding without a Helmet
Driving a motorcycle without a helmet is considered a compoundable offence with a fine of Rs 1,000. In certain states in the US, like Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire helmets on motorcyclists are not required. However, most states specify age groups for which helmets are required and depending on the state it can impose a fine of $30-300 (~Rs 2,100-21,700). In states like Alabama or Arkansas, you could even be jailed.
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