Jumping a red light or talking on a mobile phone while driving could now set you back by a few thousand rupees. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is currently in Parliament and may soon become law. By increasing the fine and penalties manifold, the new Act essentially seeks to bring in a paradigm shift in the driving habits of the vehicle owners in the country, leading to a safer environment on the roads. Indraneel Chatterjee, Principal Officer, RenewBuy.com, in an email interview, shares the finer point of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and also presents a comparison when it comes to the existing penalties for various offences and how much they will be once the bill becomes an Act.
What are the current limits for a fine or penalty for driving any vehicle without valid insurance?
The present limits for a fine or penalty for driving any vehicle without valid insurance is a fine up to Rs. 1000 or imprisonment up to 3 months or both. Driving uninsured vehicle—whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be driven in contravention of the provisions of section 146 shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 3 months, or with fine which may extend to Rs. 1000, or with both.
What is the proposed amount in the proposed Motor Vehicle bill?
Under the proposed law section 196, driving uninsured vehicle—Whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be driven in contravention of the provisions of section 146 shall be punishable for the first offence with imprisonment which may extend to 3 months, or with fine of Rs. 1000 , or with both, and for a subsequent offence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months, or with fine of Rs. 4000 , or with both.
What has been the change in the hit-and-run cases?
Compensation for hit-and-run cases will be increased to Rs. 2 lakh in the case of a death and Rs. 50,000 over injuries. The government also plans to make treatment during the golden hour cashless.
And, what about the insurance claim in the case of 3rd party covers?
Cap on liabilities on third party insurance will be removed completely. Earlier the compensation was capped at Rs. 10 lakh for death and Rs. 5 lakh for injuries.
Importantly, citizens who help an injured in an accident won’t be liable to face any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
There are several traffic violations by juveniles. What provisions does the new Bill has in store to address them?
In traffic violations by juveniles, the guardians or owner of the vehicle would be held responsible unless they prove the offence was committed without their knowledge or they tried to prevent it. The registration of the motor vehicle in question will be cancelled for a period of 12 months. The juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act.
Any other major proposals that one needs to be aware of?
An Aadhaar card will become mandatory to procure a driving license or vehicle registration in future. Further, time limit for renewal of driving license is increased from one month to one year before and after the expiry date. Also, the bill defines taxi aggregators as an intermediary between customers and the drivers. Theses aggregators will also be required to get a license from states that they are operating in.
What are some important penalties that have been to be increased under the proposed Motor Vehicle bill that car owners need to be aware of?
Penalties have been increased significantly for various offences as below like:
- Fine for rash driving will be increased to Rs. 5,000, up from Rs. 1,000.
- Minimum fine for drunk driving will also be increased to Rs. 10,000, up from Rs. 2,000.
- Driving without a licence will attract a minimum fine of Rs. 5,000 as against Rs. 500 at present.
- The fine for over-speeding will go up from Rs. 400 to Rs. 1,000-2,000.
- Not wearing seatbelt would attract a fine of Rs. 1,000 as against Rs. 100 at present.
- Talking on a mobile phone while driving will attract a fine of Rs. 5,000, up from Rs. 1,000.
- The fine for not wearing a seatbelt or helmet will be increased to Rs. 1,000 from Rs. 100