Motor Vehicles Amendment bill approved by Cabinet: Traffic fines could go up DRASTICALLY

The Indian government’s cabinet of ministers has approved the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, which proposes a drastic increase in traffic fined apart from many other measures to make roads safer and traffic more orderly. The bill will now go to the upper house (Rajya Sabha). Once the upper house approves it, the bill will become law and will come into effect.

The Hindu’s source had this to say about the bill,

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill. It provides steep penalties for violation of various traffic norms.

The motor vehicle amendment bill lapsed earlier this year, when fresh elections were called. It was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in April 2017, but wasn’t passed by the Rajya Sabha even after debate. If the same happens this time around, it will be a while before the bill becomes law. For now, here are details of common traffic offences and the fines that have to be paid by motorists if they break laws.

Fine amounts for traffic fines are set to go up by 10 times. The fine amount for driving without a valid license will go up to Rs. 5,000 from the existing Rs. 500. The penalty for talking on the mobile phone while driving/riding will go up to Rs. 5000 from Rs. 1,000. The penalty from drunk driving/riding, the fine will go up to Rs. 10,000 from the Rs. 2000.

As for rash/dangerous driving/riding, the fine will increase to Rs. 5,000, from the current Rs. 1,000. The new bill also aims to increase liability on vehicle owners who allow juveniles to ride/drive a vehicle without a valid license. The vehicle owner may even face jail time in such situations, and this is meant to act as a strong deterrent.

Indian roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with hundreds of people losing their lives daily due to road accidents. While roads have become better in the past couple of decades, the rise in traffic has been dramatic. Lack of traffic discipline means that many drives/riders who begin using their vehicles on the road are as much a safety hazard as are poor roads.

While a steep increase in traffic fines will deter many from breaking road rules, there’s a good chance that such measures can also raise corruption levels among enforcement agencies, chiefly traffic police forces across the country. Many Indian police officials are highly corrupt, and prefer bribes to legitimate fines. The fear is that the latest bill could make bribe amounts higher rather than actually reducing traffic offences.