Lakshay
Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019- Traffic laws updated
Lakshay Parmar 20 Feb 2020

Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act, 2019- Traffic laws updated

Introduction

Indian roads are known to be one of the worlds most dangerous. Uncertain road conditions including sharp curves, potholes and steep grades have proved to be very deadly. During 2017, according to data of the Ministry of Transport and Roads (MTR), potholes cost 3,597 lives. This is an increase of 55% compared to 2016. Almost 10 people per day die in the country due to faulty roads or poor maintenance. The need to make road designers and engineering agencies increasingly accountable is long overdue.

 

Now, under section-198A of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), this crucial issue has been genuinely addressed. This section ensures that mistakes shall be punished legally for failure to meet road design, construction and maintenance requirements.

 

Objective of the Amendment

On September 1, 2019, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 came into force with an aim to curb road accidents in India and improve road safety. This major change to the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 has resulted in the implementation of fresh fines and vehicle licensing requirements along with revised operating standards for both personal and commercial vehicles.

The new Motor Vehicles Bill is causing a jaw-dropping increase in fines for violators of traffic rules. The Bill also seeks to spread information about road safety and to prevent drivers from flouting traffic rules and regulations.

 

The increased fines levied by the Act have been a subject of widespread concern. Several people have expressed disappointment at updated sanctions, deemed them a move that could allow for more corruption. It is however necessary noting, human intervention is to be effectively reduced by strategic technology incorporation with enforced compliance, thereby reducing the impact of such practice.

 

Some states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka have also started installing high-resolution cameras at traffic junctions to automatically monitor and send violation feeds to control centre's.

Changes in the Act

Under the Act, traffic violations such as drunken driving draw a fine of Rs. 10,000/-and/or 6 months to 2 years imprisonment. Penalties for driving without a license have been raised from "fine to Rs.500/- and/or imprisonment that may stretch to 3 months" to "fine of Rs. 5,000/- and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months". Not wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler can now cause you to pay Rs 1,000/- fine and 3-month banning of license.

 

Violations such as speeding, not using a helmet, not using a seat belt, not using a child safety device and distracted driving are established killers on our roadways. The act multiplies the fines by 10 times for speeding (section 189), non usage of helmets (section 194D), and the non usage of seat belts and/or child protection devices (section 194B), among other clauses such as stricter penalties for drunken driving (section 185) and dangerous driving (section 184) with possible imprisonment. Through these provisions, not only does the Act aims to protect road users from risk factors, but also aims to deter the practice of negligence by road users in order to avoid further loss of life.

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