Governance

Cabinet clears Road Safety Bill, proposes heavy penalties

It is a major step towards bringing down fatalities on roads by 50 per cent in next five years

 
By Anupam Chakravartty
Last Updated: Friday 05 August 2016 | 06:11:25 AM
Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. Credit: John Haslam / Flicker
Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. Credit: John Haslam / Flicker Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. Credit: John Haslam / Flicker

Terming it as the single biggest reform in the transport sector of the country, the ruling NDA government cleared the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 by suggesting hefty penalties against traffic offenders, including those indulging in drunken driving. On the other hand, the Union Cabinet also paved way for monetisation of 75 national highways through public funding by increasing the number of toll roads in the country.

In a cabinet meeting held on August 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved amendments in 68 out of 223 sections of the present Motor Vehicles Act. The amendments also proposed deletion of Chapter 10 which is being replaced with new provisions to simplify third party insurance claims and settlement process.

Commitment to reduce road accidents

According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), every year 0.5 million road accidents are reported in the country in which 500,000 people lose their lives. The Ministry, in its statement, said that government is committed to reduce accidents by 50 per cent in next five years.

States taken into confidence

In order to address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments, MoRTH constituted a Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of the States after states expressed reservations about various amendments proposed in the Bill in 2014. The GoM, headed by Transport Minister of Rajasthan, Yoonus Khan, held extensive meeting with ministers from different states and prepared three interim reports. The GoM recommended that to address the pressing issue of road safety and improve transport scenario, Government should immediately bring amendments to the present Motor Vehicle Act.

Compensation for hit-and-run cases

The important provisions include increase in compensation for hit-and-run cases from Rs 25,000 to Rs 200,000 with a provision for payment of compensation up to Rs 1 million in road accidents fatalities. The Bill also proposes insertion of 28 new sections. The amendments mainly focus on issues related to improving road safety and citizens’ facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department. The Bill proposes to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting the states to grant exemptions in stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, last-mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety. These amendments will also include recognition of app-based services such as Ola, Uber and car and bus pooling services such as Shuttl. 

The bill proposes that the state governments can regulate activities of pedestrians, bicycles and other eco-friendly services such as e-rickshaws. The new bill focuses on improving delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance, including enabling of online learning licenses, increasing validity period for driving licenses and doing away with the requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses.

Quantum of punishment for traffic violations increased

Keeping in mind the recent spate of fatalities caused by juveniles across several cities, the Bill proposes that the guardian or the owner of the vehicle will be held guilty in cases of offences by the juveniles. In such cases, the bill proposed that juveniles to be tried under Juvenile Justice Act followed by cancellation of the registration of such motor vehicles. The bill also proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding and overloading. Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. 

  • To help the road accident victims, ‘Good Samaritan’ guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill. 
  • To improve the registration process for new vehicles, registration at the end of the dealer is being enabled and restrictions have been imposed on temporary registration. 
  • To bring harmony in the registration and licensing process, the bill has proposed to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration throughVahan and Sarathi  This will facilitate uniformity of the process across the country. 

The Bill also proposes to mandate the automated fitness testing for the transport vehicles with effect from October 1, 2018. The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act. MoRTH maintains that this would reduce corruption in the Transport Department while improving road worthiness of vehicles. The penalties have also been proposed for deliberate violation of safety and environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.

The driving training process has been strengthened, enabling faster issuance of transport licenses. This will help in reducing the shortage of commercial drivers in the country.

According to the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, the bill will be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament next week.

New Penalties
Proposed amendments in various penalties under Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill – 2016

Section

 

Old Provision / Penalty

New Proposed Provision / Minimum Penalties

177

General

Rs 100

Rs 500

New
177A

Rules of road regulation violation

Rs 100

Rs 500

178

Travel without ticket

Rs 200

Rs 500

179

Disobedience of orders of authorities

Rs 500

Rs 2000

180

Unautorized use of vehicles without licence

Rs 1000

Rs 5000

181

Driving without licence

Rs 500

Rs 5000

182

Driving despite disqualification

Rs 500

Rs 10,000

182 B

Oversize vehicles

New

Rs 5000

183

Over speeding

Rs 400

Rs 1000 for LMV
Rs 2000 for Medium passenger vehicle

184

Dangerous driving penalty

Rs 1000

Upto Rs 5000 

185

Drunken driving

Rs 2000

Rs 10,000

189

Speeding / Racing

Rs 500

Rs 5,000

192 A

Vehicle without permit

Upto Rs 5000

Upto Rs 10,000

193

Aggregators (violations of licensing conditions)

New

Rs 25,000 to
Rs 1,00,000

194

Overloading

Rs 2000 and
Rs 1000 per extra tonne

Rs 20,000 and
Rs 2000 per extra tonne

194 A

Overloading of passengers

 

Rs 1000 per extra passenger

194 B

Seat belt

Rs 100

Rs 1000

194 C

Overloading of two wheelers

Rs 100

Rs 2000, Disqualification for 3 months for licence

194 D

Helmets

Rs 100

Rs 1000 Disqualification for 3 months for licence

194 E

Not providing way for emergency vehicles

New

Rs 10,000

196

Driving Without Insurance

RS 1000

Rs 2000

199

Offences by Juveniles

New

Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty. Rs 25,000 with 3 years of imprisonment. For Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled

206

Power of Officers to impound documents

 

Suspension of driving licenses u/s 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, 194E

210 B

Offences committed by enforcing authorities

 

Twice the penalty under the relevant section

Increasing Toll Roads
 
In yet another decision, the government has decided to increase the funding of road construction through toll collections from at least 75 new projects. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved monetisation of existing 75 tollable projects in the state sector on lease through the toll-operate-transfer (ToT) model to private players from across the globe which can help raise Rs 1 lakh crore.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has authorised National Highways Authority of India to monetise the public funded highway projects which could result in funds in the range of Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh crore initially,” Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari said. Gadkari further added that the corpus generated from proceeds of such project monetisation could be utilised by the government to meet its fund requirements regarding future development and operation and maintenance of highways in the country and could address development and strengthening of highways in unviable geographies.

On the other hand, CCEA also decided that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been given approval for monetising public funded National Highway (NH) projects which are operational and are generating toll revenues for at least two years after the Commercial Operations Date (COD) through the ToT Model. The monetisation will be subject to approval of the Competent Authority in Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) / NHAI on a case to case basis, the statement said.

According to a statement issued by MoRTH, ToT model provides “an efficient Operation and Maintenance (O&M) framework requiring reduced involvement of NHAI in projects post construction completion”. The Model would facilitate efficient toll realisation through private sector, the statement further added that “it would also create new business opportunities a new vertical of developers who specialise in O&M of highways, besides institutional investors, including pension and insurance funds and sovereign funds which are averse to taking construction risks but are adequately equipped for making long-term investments in road infrastructure”.

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Related Story:

CSE road safety audit: Delhi tops in road accident deaths; city most unsafe for cyclists, pedestrians

India’s draft road safety bill focuses more on penalty and technology

IEP Resources:

The Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015

Question raised in Rajya Sabha regarding rise in road accidents, 07/07/2014

Draft Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014

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