You’ll soon have to pay about 10 times more as a traffic fine for some of the most common traffic offences on Indian roads. The Amendment Bill to the Motor Vehicle Act has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, and is likely to soon achieve the status of law once the Rajya Sabha also passes it. Once this bill becomes a law, traffic fines will go up to ten fold.
For instance, the fine amount for driving without a valid license currently stands at Rs. 500. This will go up to Rs. 5,000, according to ETAuto. On a similar note, the fine for talking on the mobile phone while driving/riding stands at Rs. 1,000. This will go up to Rs. 5,000. As for drunk driving/riding, the fine will go up by five times, from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000 once the amendment bill become a law. A similar story will play out with rash driving, whose fine will go up from the current Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000.
Other fines such as not wearing a seat belt in a car will also see a steep increase from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,000, and the cost of speeding will go up to Rs. 2,000, from Rs. 400 presently. The amendment bill also has other positives aimed at making Indian roads safer. For one, letting a juvenile ride/drive will not only result in a steep fine for the owner but could also result in criminal prosecution including jail time. This should make parents stop their under-age kids from riding/driving, making roads safer for not just other road users but also for juveniles seeking a joy ride.
Aadhar card will become mandatory for getting a driving license as well as vehicle registration. This should make multiple driving licenses for a single individual impossible, weeding out habitual offenders from the road. Also, this indicates that the government is planning to implement the one-nation-one-tax scheme in order to prevent tax evasion and make movement of vehicles across Indian states more seamless.
While the amendment bill to the motor vehicles act has a whole bunch of positives, it’ll only be as good as its enforcement. The steep increase in traffic fines could have a negative effect as well. Corrupt police officials could use the higher fines as an excuse to ask for bigger bribes when traffic rules are broken. At least, the prospect of having to shell out more for traffic offences, either as a bribe or as a legitimate fine, should deter motorists in India from breaking rules. On the whole, the steep increase in fines is actually a welcome step that has the potential to make Indian roads more orderly, and reducing the chances of accidents. We hope that the enforcement matches the intent.