How many times have we cribbed and complained that the broken roads have jeopardised motoring in India. This might be a thing of the past with the new Motor Vehicle Bill under preparation that will hold the government bodies responsible for poor roads and the accidents caused due to it.
The total number of deaths due to road accidents in India is a ghastly 1.38 lakh a year; of which the govt claims only 1.4 per cent is due to bad roads. This number seems a little out of place as the road transport ministry has classified 450 major spots on the National Highway that are fatal and have caused many deaths every year.
This new bill that is in line with the UK standards will also implement stricter laws to curb motorists breaking the laws. The fines for jumping signals, not wearing seatbelt and speeding might attract fines in excess of Rs 2,000. Offences like holding more than one licence and driving under the influence of alcohol might attract higher penalties.
"Though it's a positive move, what we need is a strong regime of crash investigation and IT-based surveillance of roads and vehicles. Those dealing with road crashes must be trained in crash investigation," said Rohit Baluja, a road safety expert and a member of Commission for Global Road Safety.
He added in UK the fines collected for a particular offence is spent to create infrastructure to check such violations. "For example, if Delhi or Mumbai police use all the fines generated from speed violations to install speed guns, they don't have to seek government help," Baluja said.
These are still early days and the bill hasn’t been passed yet. However, these strict reforms seem promising to curb the menace of poor roads and offending motorists. The change won’t happen as soon as the bill is passed, but there has to be a beginning to an end to these issues and let’s hope for a change in better infrastructure for motoring in India.
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