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Fresh reports have revealed that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry is likely to approve the changes that were proposed to the Motor Vehicles Bill during its next meeting. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill contains a range of changes that will make roads in India much safer than they currently are.
The Bill was being opposed by opposition parties for two major reasons - one, for curtailing the powers of State governments, and two, the opposition felt the Bill favored corporates and MNCs. The Bill has already been passed in the Lok Sabha, and is pending a Rajya Sabha approval.
According to The Economic Times, changes that may come to pass are that the Aadhaar is likely to become mandatory for getting licenses and registration certificates, and an automated and computerized system to introduce a uniform registration process across states.
The Bill may also seek automated fitness testing for transport vehicles, and a bunch of other pollution curbing measures. The Bill also seeks to take under it wing third party insurers, and cab aggregators. It also wants to set up a National Road Safety Board.
According to an Economic Times Auto report, violators will be charged heavy fines of up to Rs 1 lakh, and the fines can be raised by up to 10 times. The biggest changes Vehicle laws will see are an increase in fines for traffic violations, making car owners criminally liable for accidents and violations caused by juveniles, mandatory recalls by manufacturers for defective parts, holding companies responsible for poor build quality, and protection of good Samaritans.
Here are the top 10 measures proposed by the Bill.
1. The government will provide a compensation of Rs 2 lakh or more to a victim's family in case of hit-and-run fatalities. The current amount stands at Rs 25,000.
2. In case of traffic violations by juveniles, the guardian/ owner of the car will be held responsible unless they can prove that the offense was committed without their knowledge or they tried to prevent it. Registration of the vehicle will stand canceled, and the juvenile will be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act.
3. Minimum fine for drunk driving to be increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000, while the fines for rash driving and riding to be increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
4. Talking on a mobile phone while driving to be fined Rs 5,000.
5. Driving without a license will attract a minimum fine of Rs 5,000, over-speeding at Rs 2,000, and driving without a seat belt at Rs 1,000.
6. Aadhaar will be compulsory for a driving license and for registration certificates.
7. The cap on liability for third party insurance will be removed. It is currently capped at Rs 10 lakh for death, and at Rs 5 lakh for grievous injury.
8. Civic agencies, contractors, and consultants will be accountable for faulty designs, faulty construction, and poor maintenance of roads.
9. The time line for renewal of a driver's license to be increased from one month to one year before and after the expiry date.
10. Provision for protection of good Samaritans - those who help accident victims will be protected from civil and criminal liability. It will be optional for them to reveal their identity.
Thoughts About The Changes Proposed In The Bill
Fantastic initiative! India needs a lot of road sense beaten in to, and this is just the beginning. With one part of the government wanting to retail only electric vehicles after 2030, existing Vehicle and Road Laws will have to change and the changes will have to be implemented as soon as possible, and with brutal force if need be.