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Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill Passed In Rajya Sabha

The Bill, which aims to enforce stricter penalties for road traffic violations, has been passed with three Government amendments and will need to go back to the Lok Sabha.

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Rajya Sabha on 31st July has passed the Motor Vehicles(Amendment) Bill, 2019, to amend the provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988.  The 2019 Bill, which had earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha a week back, was tabled in the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari. The Bill, which aims to enforce stricter penalties for road traffic violations, has been passed with three Government amendments and will need to go back to the Lok Sabha.

It may be recalled that the legislation was previously introduced in 2017 but couldn't pass the Rajya Sabha and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.  The Bill has 

"The much-needed amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural & public transport, and most importantly enhance last-mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services," said Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME.  He also maintained that the bill would, in no way, encroach upon the powers and authorities of the states. He further said that the Bill will provide an efficient, safe and corruption-free transport system in the country.

Some of the important areas of the amendment are as follows:

Road Safety

Proposed Amendments in Various Penalties under Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill – 2019

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

Unauthorized use of vehicles without license

Rs 1000

Rs 5000

181

Driving without license

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

up to 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 yrs imprisonment. For Juvenile to be tried under the 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


In the area of road safety, the Bill proposes to increase penalties to act as a deterrent against traffic violations.  Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without a license, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading, etc.  Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations.  Penalty regarding motor vehicles is to be increased by 10 % every year.

Vehicle Fitness

The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles.  This would reduce corruption in the transport department while improving the roadworthiness of the vehicle.  The penalty has been provided for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as bodybuilders and spare part suppliers. The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively.  The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes. The Bill also provides for a compulsory recall of defective vehicles and power to examine irregularities of vehicle companies.  

Recall of Vehicles

The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to: (i) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or (ii) replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.

Road Safety Board

The Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification. The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including standards of motor vehicles,  registration and licensing of vehicles,  standards for road safety, and promotion of new vehicle technology.

Protection of Good Samaritan

To help road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill.  The Bill defines a Good Samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident and provides rules to prevent harassment of such a person. 

Cashless Treatment during Golden Hour

The Bill provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the golden hour.

Third-Party Insurance

The Bill has included the driver’s attendant in 3rd Party insurance. re will be no cap on liability of insurers. There will be a 10-time increase in insurance compensation, from Rs 50, 000 to Rs 5 lakh. The claim process has been simplified. Insurance firms have to pay claims within a month if the victim’s family agree to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation. The Bill also increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees in case of death, and from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000 in case of grievous injury.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund

The Bill requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. It will be utilized for:  treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme,  compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident,  compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and  compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government. This Fund will be credited through: payment of a nature notified by the central government,  a grant or loan made by the central government,  balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents),or any other source as prescribed the central government.

Improving Services using e-Governance

Improving the delivery of services to the stakeholders using e-Governance is one of the major focuses of this Bill.  This includes

  • Provision for online driving licenses.

The Bill provides for online Learners Licence with mandatory online identity verification Driving test will be computerized to avoid fake D.L.  The Bill will bring transparency in RTO offices. Commercial licenses will be valid upto five instead of three years. Application for renewal can be made one year prior to or after licence lapses. Driver Training Schools will be opened so that more efficient drivers may be available.

  • Process of Vehicle Registration

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.  The Minister has however said that state transport departments can inspect the vehicles at dealers end.

To bring the harmony of the registration and licensing process, it is proposed to create National Register for Driving Licence and National Register for Vehicle registration through “Vahan” & “Sarathi” platforms. This will facilitate the uniformity of the process across the country. 

  • Drivers Training

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. More and more drivers training schools and vehicle fitness centres will be opened

To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed in respect of grant of driving licenses as well as alterations in the vehicles to make it fit for their use.

Reforms in the Transportation System

Development of an Integrated Transport System will be possible from the National Transportation Policy. This will also enhance the powers of the State Governments, provide better last-mile connectivity, rural transport, etc.

Taxi aggregators:

The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services). The Bill provides guidelines for Aggregators. At present, there are no rules in many states for regulating aggregators, taxis, etc.

Reforms in Driving Licences

The Bill provides for online Learners Licence.  Provision of online identity verification Aadhar Card has been made mandatory for making Driving Licences and driving test of the applicant will be computerized to avoid fake D.L.  The Bill will bring transparency in RTO offices. Commercial licenses will be valid upto five instead of three years. Application for renewal can be made one year prior to or after license lapses. Driver Training Schools will be opened so that a more efficient driver may be available.

Simplification in the process of vehicle registration

The vehicle owners may register their vehicle anywhere in the state and process of registration will be done by dealers. Differently abled persons will get facilities for registration of vehicles. Checking of fitness of vehicles will be computerized and laws for the scrapping of the old vehicle. Now since the National Register is in place, transfer of a vehicle from one city to another will be easier and the stolen vehicles will not get registered.

Reforms in the Transportation System

Development of an Integrated Transport System will be possible from the National Transportation Policy. This will also enhance the powers of the State Governments, provide better last-mile connectivity, rural transport, etc. The Bill provides guidelines for Aggregators. At present, there are no rules in many states for regulating aggregators, taxis, etc.

Recall of vehicles: The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to: (i) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or (ii) replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.

National Transportation Policy: The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy, in consultation with state governments. The Policy will: (i) establish a planning framework for road transport, (ii) develop a framework for the grant of permits, and (iii) specify priorities for the transport system, among other things.

Offences and penalties: The Bill increases penalties for several offences under the Act. For example, the maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The central government may increase fines mentioned under the Act every year by up to 10%.


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