The 2019 Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha and the upper house of the parliament has suggested three amendments to the bill. The bill will be now sent again to the Lok Sabha for scrutiny and then sent to the President of India for final ratification. The updated Motor Vehicles Act has been in coming a long time and is expected to make our roads safer with strict rules and hefty increase in penalties for traffic violations. It was made in consultation with transport ministers from 18 states along with discussion with other standing committees. Here is everything you need to know about the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill.
Exponential Increase In Traffic Violation Penalties
One of the major components of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill looks to increase the traffic fines significantly. For example, the fine for not wearing a helmet will go up from ₹ 100 currently to ₹ 1,000. The fine for talking on mobile phone and driving will be raised to ₹ 5,000 from the current ₹ 500. And the fine for drinking and driving has been increased from ₹ 2,000 to ₹ 10,000. There are additions as well in terms of violations including not giving way to emergency services such as an ambulance will attract a fine of ₹ 10,000.
The new Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill also speaks about automated fitness tests for vehicles for determining the road worthiness of a particular vehicle. The process will now be regulated more efficiently and the testing agencies that issue approvals will now come under the umbrella of the bill and there will be prescribed standards for the same.
The new bill has provisions that will allow the central government to issue recalls for all kinds of vehicles in case of a defect which causes harm to the user, environment and/or other road users. The manufacturer, whose vehicles have been recalled, will be liable to reimburse the full cost of the vehicle or replace the affected vehicle with another model which is similar or better.
Road Safety Board
Under the provisions of the new bill, the central government could create a National Road Safety Board through a notification. The responsibility of this board will be to advise central and state governments on road safety, traffic management, licensing and even promoting new vehicle technology.
Good Samaritan & Cashless Treatment During Golden Hour
The bill also incorporates guidelines to prevent harassment for the good Samaritan, who is a person that helps road accident victims and renders emergency assistance to the victim at the site of the accident. Plus, the bill also includes provisions for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the golden hours.
Third Party Insurance
The new bill also says that there will be a ten-fold increase in the insurance compensation which is from ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 5 lakh. The insurance claims process will be simplified and cleared within a month. The minimum compensation for hit-and-run cases will be increased from current ₹ 25,000 to ₹ 2 lakh in case of death and to ₹ 50,000 from ₹ 12,500 in case of grievous injury.
Motor Vehicle Accident Fund
According to the new bill, the central government will make a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which will provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. The accident fund will be used for treatment of road accident victims, compensation to relatives in case of death by road accident, compensation for people who have been grievously injured and to persons prescribed by the central government.
One of the major outlooks of the bill includes the use of e-governance in order to improve services to all stakeholders. This includes provisions for issuing online learners driving licenses with mandatory identity verification. Also, the driving tests will be computerised so as to avoid fake licenses and increase transparency and efficiency in RTOs. Commercial driving licenses will now be valid for 5 years instead of the earlier 3 years and license holders can apply for renewal one year prior to or till the license expires. The bill also has provisions to open more driver training facilities for commercial drivers along with vehicle fitness centres as well. Differently abled people or 'Divyang' will be able to get licenses quicker and the related bottlenecks will be removed too. Plus, the bill says that alterations will be allowed in vehicles in order for them to be suitable for their use.
The registration process for new vehicles will be made easier and even vehicle dealerships will be able to get new vehicles registered and there will be restrictions on temporary registrations. Also, the bill proposes for the creation of a national register for driving licenses and vehicle registration on two different platforms which are 'Vahan' and 'Sarathi'. These things will make the process uniform across the country.
The bill will also look at developing an integrated transport system from the National Transportation Policy. The integrated transport policy will ensure better last mile connectivity and rural transport.
The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill will finally recognise app based cab aggregators like Ola and Uber and define them as a digital intermediary or a market place. India's state governments will grant licenses to the aggregators based on the guidelines framed by the central government. However, the said guidelines haven't been made yet. The aggregators will also be required to comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.