Drivers And Riders Beware! Rajya Sabha Puts The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill In Motion
The Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament on July 31. The bill was passed with three government amendments and will go back to the Lok Sabha. The Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill received 108 Ayes and 13 Noes in the Rajya Sabha last evening and will introduce necessary changes and provisions towards road safety in the Motor Vehicle Act of 1988. All the amendments were introduced in the Parliament in 2017 and later presented to the select committee. But Rajya Sabha did not clear the amendments and was lapsed in the 16th Lok Sabha. If the Lok Sabha clears the bill this time, it will be sent to the President for final approval.
In his statement speaking in the Rajya Sabha about the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME, Nitin Gadkari said, “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 even applauded the efforts of Tamil Nadu towards road safety with the number of road-related deaths down by 29 per cent.
If the current bill is passed, there will be stricter punishments for various traffic-related offences and higher fines than the current ones. It proposes Rs 10,000 fine for not giving way to emergency vehicles and Rs 10,000 for driving despite disqualification.
“If aggregators are found violating licensing conditions, they will be charged a sum of up to Rs 1 lakh” while overloading of vehicles would attract a penalty of Rs 20,000.
If a manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the applicable penalty now will be up to Rs 100 crore or imprisonment up to one year. Any road contractor fails to design roads according to the new standards will be penalized up to Rs 1 lakh. Under the new act, the central government may increase fines by up to 10 per cent every year.
The bill also offers protection to Samaritans. According to it, persons who provide emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a road accident victim will be safeguarded from any harassment from law enforcement or medical officials. Its aim is to ensure an accident victim can receive requisite and/or access to a medical facility in the crucial ‘golden hour’.
This bill also proposes the creation of a Road Safety Board that would advise central and state governments on all aspects of road safety. Road Safety Board will now also have the right to promote any new technology.
It further went on to propose changes to the process of vehicle registration with the aim to reduce corruption at the RTO; establishing a new standard for vehicle fitness; and require cab aggregators like Ola and Uber to be issued licenses and comply with the IT Act, 2000.
The act has a lot of potentials and is a step in the right direction. With the number of vehicles doubling on the Indian roads every day, there is a need for stricter rules. But in the end, it all comes down to how this will be implemented in reality. Till then, keep coming back to Befazool Charcha.