Rajya Sabha Passes amendments to Motor Vehicle Bill which includes several Traffic Fines

Motor Vehicle Bill 2019: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Parliament. The bill has been passed with three government amendments and will have to go back to the Lok Sabha. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill received 108 Ayes and 13 Noes in the Rajya Sabha today and brings necessary changes and provisions towards road safety in the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last week. It will now require President’s nod to become a law.

Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME, Nitin Gadkari said that “The much-needed amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport, and last-mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services”. He also appreciated the efforts of the Tamil Nadu towards road safety with the number of road-related deaths down by 29%.

The bill aims to address crucial issues such as road safety, reducing deaths due to road accidents, imposing stiffer penalties on violation of rules, and weed out corruption in India’s road transport system. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, was introduced in the lower house in August 2016. Thereafter the bill got its nod in April 2017. It was then sent to the Rajya Sabha select committee. The bill, however, did not get the upper house’s approval and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

Under the Motor Vehicle Bill 2019, the penalties for several offences has been increased.

  • If manufacturers fail to comply with motor vehicle standards, there will be a penalty of up to ₹ 100 crore or imprisonment up to one year or both.
  • Road contractors that fail to design roads according to the new standards will be penalised up to ₹ 1 lakh, and the central government may increase fines by up to 10 percent under the new act.
  • The bill also caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at ₹ 10 lakh in case of death and at ₹ 5 lakh in case of grievous injury.
  • The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and runs cases from ₹ 25,000 to two lakh rupees in case of death and in case of grievous injury, from₹ 12,500 to ₹ 50,000.
  • The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour, which has been defined as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • The bill defines good samaritans as a person who helps victims in an accident. It also clarifies that such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury or death of an accident victim due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
  • The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill recognizes app-based cab aggregators like Ola and Uber as a digital intermediary or a market place.

The new vehicle registration process will be completely computerised to introduce transparency in the system. The bill also states that the use of Aadhaar number will be mandatory when applying for a new licence. The term of the driving licence has also been reduced from 20 years to 10 years, under the amendment of the bill.

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