Most people want to buy a car. However, a rise in the number of cars has also contributed to the number of road fatalities at the same time. Several leading news reports indicate that, on average, over 1.5 lakh lives are lost each year in India due to road accidents, while thousands are seriously injured.
Having your vehicle involved in a traffic accident can be a financially traumatic situation for everyone, aside from leading to a bodily injury. For this purpose, there is little need for each of us to contribute to ensuring road safety. So how do we improvise on road safety with increasing traffic-like situations in metropolitan cities and other areas?
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 came into existence to make Indian roads safer for the younger generation and to encourage the significance of safe driving. According to the Ministry of Transport's press release, below is a list of the significant new motor vehicle laws that have entered into force on 1 September 2019.
Enhancement in Penalties
The following table summarizes all the penalties –
|Activity||Old Penalty||New Penalty|
|Penalty for unspecified offenses||Fine up to INR 100 for the first offense and INR300 for every subsequent offense||Fine up to INR 500 for the first offense and INR1,500 for every subsequent offense.|
|Violation of road regulation||-||Fine up to INR 500 to INR 100|
|Travelling without ticket||Fine up to INR 200||Fine up to INR 500|
|Disobedience of orders of authority or refusal to share information||Fine up to INR 500||Fine up to INR 2,000|
|Unauthorized use of vehicles without license||INR 1,000||INR 5,000|
|Driving without license||Fine up to INR 500||Fine up to INR 5,000|
|Driving despite disqualification||Fine up to INR 500||Fine up to INR 10,000|
|Over-speeding||Fine up to INR 400||Fine up to INR 1,000 - INR 2,000(for light motor vehicle), INR 2,000 - INR 4,000(for medium passenger or goods vehicles and impounding of driving license for second/subsequent offense).|
|Dangerous driving||-||Imprisonment of 6 months to 1 year and/or fine of INR 1,000- INR 5,000 for first offense and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to INR 10,000 for a second offense.|
|Drunken driving||-||Imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to INR 10,000 for first offense and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of INR 15,000 for a second offense.|
|Driving when physically or mentally unfit to do so||Fine up to INR 200 for a first offense, INR 500 for second/subsequent offense||Fine up to INR 500 for a first offense, INR 2,000 for a second/subsequent offense.|
|Offenses related to the accident||-||Imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or fine up to INR 5,000 for first offense and imprisonment up to 1 year and/or fine up to INR 10,000 for a second offense.|
|Racing and speeding||-||Imprisonment of up to 1 month and/or fine up to INR 500 for first offense and imprisonment up to 1month and/or fine up to INR 10,000 for a second offense.|
|Driving uninsured vehicle||Fine up to INR 1,000 and punishment up to 3 months||Fine up to INR 2,000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the first offense and fine of INR 4,000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the second offense.|
|Taking vehicles without lawful authority and seizing motor vehicles by force||Fine up to INR 500||Fine up to INR 5,000|
|Causing obstruction to free flow of traffic||Fine up to INR 50||Fine up to INR 500|
New Traffic Rules Related To:
Expiry of driving license
Under the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, a person can apply for the renewal of a driving license at any time between one year before its expiry and up to one year after its expiry. This will mean that if your driving license expires in October 2020, you should apply for renewal between October 2019 to October 2021. However, if you apply for a renewal after one year of the license expiry, you will be forced to undergo the driving license test again.
Change in the residential address
If you wish to change the address on your driving license, you can do so online. You can apply to any registration authority within the state.
Driving by a juvenile
If your child is being detained for driving a motor vehicle, giving your child the keys to your car will become a costly affair from September 1st. As per the new legislation, if the child uses the car, the registration of your vehicle will be canceled for a period of one year. After one year has expired, you will have to make a fresh application for registration of your car.
As per new section 199A and 199B of the Motor Vehicles Act 2019, you will be fined a total of INR 25,000 and face imprisonment of up to three years. As far as a minor child is concerned, he will not receive his apprentice's degree until he is 25 years of age. As per the Act, these fines can be increased by up to 10% annually.
Compensation for victims of traffic accidents
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 raises the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows: (i) in case of death, from INR 25,000 to INR 2,00,000, and (ii) serious injury, from INR 12,500 to INR 50,000.
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 enables the central government to recall faulty motor vehicles that may affect the environment, the driver, or other road users.
Road Safety Board
The central government will form the National Road Safety Board to advise central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.
Defense of Good Samaritans
This Act describes a Samaritan as a person who offers assistance to a road accident victim immediately after a mishap. This amendment ensures that they are not affected in any way whatsoever. They are also shielded from any civil or criminal action, except in situations where they negligently cause the victim's death.
These are described by the Motor Vehicles Act 2019 as intermediaries using a digital platform to connect drivers to passengers. These new provisions shall provide for the issuance of licenses from the governments of the respective states. They are also instructed to abide by the laws and regulations of the Information and Technology Act, 2000.
Wide transport strategy
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 supports the concept of establishing a national transport strategy. This is to be achieved by the Central Government in partnership with the Governments of all States. This proposal would include a basis for road transport. Besides, the goals of the transport system will be specified.
Education of the driver
This amendment enhances the driving training process. This will lead to quicker licensing. This amendment comes as a result of a lack of commercial drivers in the region. It encourages the opening of more training centers for drivers to ensure better commercial drivers in India.
National Registry of Driving License and Car Registration
This amendment aims to harmonise and incorporate a driving license with the registration of a car. This will be achieved by creating the National Register of Driving License and the National Register of Vehicles with the online portals 'Sarathi' and 'Vahan.' This process will establish a standardised system of license and vehicle registration throughout the country.
Online Driving License
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 provides for the online issuance of a learner's certificate, mandating online identity verification. This will increase productivity and, to a large degree, reduce the problem of counterfeit licenses. In addition to increasing accountability, it also allows for commercial licenses to be valid for up to five years instead of three years. Driver training schools will now be in operation to create better drivers on the highways.
Accident Fund for Passenger Vehicles
The Motor Vehicles Fund will be set up to provide the central government with compulsory car insurance for all drivers on the road. This fund will be set up to compensate victims of road accidents and their legal heirs in the event of their death.
The Better Insurance Facility
The Motor Vehicles Act 2019 ensures that there is no liability limit for insurers. As a matter of fact, drivers' assistants are now to be used in third-party insurance. Compensation by insurance providers will now be raised by up to ten times.
Provisions have been made to ensure that if the victim's family agrees to compensation for five lakhs, the family will obtain compensation within one month. The method of requests for compensation has also been streamlined. The minimum compensation for hit-and-run accidents and cases where serious injury is caused has also been raised.
Additional Changes Implemented in 2020
Many further changes were brought into action as an extension of the 2019 amendment. All of these changes have been listed below.
- As per the new regulations, you will be able to save your documents on your mobile device. This will keep you from needlessly bearing the luggage of your physical documents. Now, if a police officer asks for your driving license or other similar documents, you should show them their soft copies.
- As there will be no physical inspection of the vehicle records. If the driver's license is to be revoked by the traffic official, it will be done through a portal that would be modified consecutively.
- As per the official notice, the driver's conduct will be observed. The identification of the police officer would also be changed in the portal. The records will be updated on the platform any time a driver or vehicle is examined.
- Driving license and other records, such as registration certificates, can be stored online on the Digi-locker or m-parivahan governments.
- Both handheld communication devices, such as smartphones, can be used for route navigation by ensuring that the driver's attention is intact when driving.
- Those found in breach of the traffic laws will be fined under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. This will prevent the vehicle from getting frequent checks to ease traffic on the lane. The e-Challenge will be given via the Government's digital platform to those found to violate traffic laws.
- After the driving license has been canceled, the offender will have to return to the digital portal.
'Alert today, alive tomorrow' – goes the popular saying. The goal of implementing the new Motor Vehicles Act 2019 is to ensure that motorists start taking traffic rules more seriously, which will encourage healthy and sustainable mobility across the country. We hope that people will now be more vigilant with the implementation of the changes when using their cars. This will make the roads a safer place for everybody!