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Published On: Wed, Jul 24th, 2019

Motor Vehicle Bill Passed in Lok Sabha, Drunken Driving to Cost Rs 10K

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motor-vehiclesNEW DELHI : Lok Sabha has given its nod to a bill which seeks to weed out corruption, improve road safety and usher in use of technology to regulate traffic as the government assured the House that rights of the states will not be violated. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by a voice vote. Several amendments moved by opposition members were also rejected by a voice vote.
Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said he is here “not to show any dream” but fulfil promises made on better, smoother roads and latest transport technology. While several members cutting across party lines supported safety and traffic violation aspects of the Bill, they at the same time accused the Centre of trying to take away state’s powers with certain provisions of the draft law.
Following a lengthy discussion, the Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2019 on Tuesday. The new bill was passed to amend the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 which was tabled in the house back in 2017, but was not cleared in the upper house and eventually got lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Union Minister for Road Transport and National Highways, Nitin Hadkar tabled the 2019 Bill on Monday. Among the major changes, the new bill calls for a substantial increase in fines for a few offenses. Among these, drunken driving which called for a penalty of Rs 2000 will now cost Rs 10,000 according to the new bill. Similarly, driving without license which previously cost Rs 500 in fine will now cost Rs 5,000 with the new bill.

Other notable inclusions in the bill comes in the form of a fine of Rs 10,000 for not giving way to emergency vehicles and an equal penalty despite disqualification.
The proposals for the new bill are based on the recommendations of transport ministers from 18 states, which were vetted by the Standing Committee of Parliament. Additionally, the driving training process has also been strengthened under the new bill. To help road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill.
The provisions also include that guardian/owner will be deemed to be guilty in case of road offence by juveniles while registration of the vehicle will be cancelled. As per the new provisions “guardian/owner shall be deemed to be guilty and there will be a penalty of Rs 25,000 with three-year imprisonment and cancellation of registration of the Motor Vehicle”.
Several Members of Parliament (MPs) welcomed the stiffer penalties and other steps taken towards improving safety, but had concerns regarding a clause that proposes penalising drivers that stop an ambulance by making them cough up Rs 10,000.

Trinamool Congress’ Saugata Roy wondered what would drivers do in case they were stuck in a traffic jam. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari responded by saying that the penalties will apply only if it is proved that the driver had intentionally not given way to the ambulance, which will have a camera fitted in it.
Compensation issue
While welcoming faster payment of compensation amount — of 5 lakh in death cases or 2.5 lakh grievous injury cases — to accident victims in case relatives of victims decide to give up their rights for claiming higher compensation from insurers, some MPs maintained that the rights of accident victims to move to Motor Accident Claims Tribunals (MACT) should continue, given that several MACTs have ruled for compensating victims for much higher amount.(With Agency Inputs ).



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