Indian roads have been notorious for the alarming statistics for injuries and fatalities which they have accrued. In an effort to make our roads safer, the Lok Sabha has passed the Motor Vehicle Bill which imposes hefty fines on traffic violators. The new bill proposes to amend 68 out of the 223 sections in the current Motor Vehicle Act. Taking a note of more minors being involved in violations, the new amendment to Motor Vehicle Act of 1988 states that if a minor is caught driving and is involved in a fatal accident, parents or the guardians will be held responsible, along with a three-year jail term in addition to the cancellation of the vehicle’s registration.
The proposed legislation will now be passed to Rajya Sabha for approval, the new regulation will also feature additional measures to protect good Samaritans along with checking for fake driving licences. The bill also holds vehicle manufacturers responsible for design defects, recall of faulty vehicles and maintenance agencies or contractors accountable for road deaths and injuries due to flaws. Such agencies will have to pay a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. Interestingly, the bill has proposed a 10-time increase in compensation to families of the accident victim. The government plans to indirectly put a cap on insurance compensation where victims or their kin agree to Rs 2.5 lakh for grievous injuries and Rs 5 lakh for death. In such cases, they can't pursue the case in the Motor Vehicles Claims Tribunal (MACT). Victims of fatal hit-and-run accidents will receive a compensation amount of Rs 2 lakh.
Speaking on similar lines, Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari stated that victims who have issues accepting the compensation offered by insurance companies will be free to pursue the case in MACT and in those cases the insurance companies will pay the entire amount awarded. Recently, it was decreed that learner’s licence application would be accepted online, while in case of approved permanent licence, the RTO will have three days to issue the final document to the applicant. Failing which, action will be taken against the concerned RTO.