Earlier this week, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha to update the existing rules and fines to make Indian roads safer. Cab-hailing service providers like Ola and Uber also received statutory recognition as "digital intermediaries" or "transport aggregators," in the bill.
Once passed by the Rajya Sabha and the President, it will soon become a law. Here are some of the key features of the new proposed law:
Fines and penalties:
- Drunken driving: Rs 10,000 (at present Rs 10,000)
- Not wearing seat-belt: Rs 1,000 (at present Rs 100)
- No helmet: Rs 1,000 (at present Rs 100) and subsequent disqualification of driving premit for 3 months
- Triple riding: Rs 2,000 (at present Rs 100)
- Overspeeding: Rs 1,000-Rs 2,000 (at present Rs 400)
- Racing: Rs 5,000 (at present Rs 500)
- Dangerous driving: Rs 5,000 (at present Rs 1,000)
- Driving without insurance: Rs 2,000
- Driving despite disqualification of license: Rs 10,000
- For not giving way to emergency vehicles: Rs 10,000
- Traffic violations: Rs 500 (at present Rs 100)
- Disobeying authorities: Rs 2,000 (at present Rs 500)
- Driving without license: Rs 5,000 (at present Rs 500)
- Driving unauthorised vehicle (vehicle without licensed registration): Rs 5,000
- Overloading of goods vehicles: Rs 20,000 and Rs 2,000 per extra tonne (at present Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 per extra tonne)
- Violations by cab aggregators (on licensing): Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh
- Overloading of passengers: Rs 1,000 per extra passenger
- For offences committed by enforcing authorities: twice the penalty of the violation
Compensation on road accidents:
Minimum compensation for hit and run cases was hiked from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh in case of death, and from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000 in case of grievous injury.
Traffic to be monitored:
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said that violation of traffic rules will be monitored by an intelligent traffic system.
Driving license process:
Gadkari said that whether the applicant is a minister or an MP, he or she will receive licence only after passing online tests, making the application process transparent and easy. The Motor Vehicles Bill also provides for online learner's permit with mandatory online identity verification.
Regulating the guidelines for cab aggregators like Ola and Uber, under the new bill, cab services which will get licenses from state governments. These will be recognised as "digital intermediaries" or "transport aggregators" that are defined as marketplaces allowing passengers to connect with a driver for moving from one place to another.
The central government will issue broad guidelines from time to time for states to rely on to frame their own rules to regulate the industry, eliminating the ad-hocism policies adopted by some states for these firms.
The aggregators will also have to comply with the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, that means complying with data storage rules to protect the identity of users.
Overload of passengers will also be fined (as mentioned above)
The bill in the future is hoped to prevent over-charging customers with surcharges during peak traffic hours or other occasions of disruptions (like rains or strikes). More changes like drivers' audit to promote competition and safety of the passengers are also hoped to be added to address concerns of passengers.
Cashless treatment for accident
The Centre is to develop a system for cashless treatment of road accident victims within the 1 hour after a traumatic injury, where there is the highest likelihood of preventing death by providing medical care. The bill will also prevent harassment of citizens who come forward to rescue accident victims.