As per the act, anyone found guilty of dangerous driving will have to shell out Rs 1,000-5,000 or six months to one-year imprisonment for the first offence and a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or two years imprisonment
There has been a great deal of talk across the country about the new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 that came into force from September 1. There is a general perception that that the fines under the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 will burn a huge hole in the pockets of the common men. The new act stipulates that anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol will have to cough up a fine of Rs 10,000 or six months imprisonment for the first offence and imprisonment of two years or a fine of Rs 15,000 for the second offence.
As per the act, anyone found guilty of dangerous driving will have to shell out Rs 1,000-5,000 or six months to one year imprisonment for the first offence and a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or two years imprisonment. The act also mandates that any vehicle user caught overspeeding will have to fork out a fine of Rs 1,000 to 2,000 for light motor vehicle and a fine of Rs 2,000 to 4,000 for medium passenger or goods vehicles and impounding of driving licence for the second offence.
Further, the new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 stipulates that driving without licence will see vehicle users pay a fine of Rs 5,000 from earlier Rs 500, while anyone driving uninsured vehicle will attract a fine of Rs 2,000 or three months imprisonment for the first offence, while vehicle users will have to fork out Rs 4,000 or three months imprisonment for the second offence. Driving without registration certificate would attract a fine of Rs 5,000 from earlier Rs 200. All these new norms among many others are aimed at mitigating road accident-induced deaths or grievous injuries, if not eliminating it.
The new act has invited different reactions across the country with the Gujarat government deciding to reduce fines by around 90 % - however, it must be understood that state governments can only reduce fines that fall under the ‘compoundable’ offences category such as not wearing seat belt, helmet, triple-riding on two-wheelers, speeding, plying vehicles without pollution under control (PUC) certificate and driving without licence and registration certificate. The new act has certain penalties for various such offences such as juvenile driving, drunken driving and jumping traffic light that cannot be reduced by state governments.
Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Nitin Gadkari said the objective behind the new Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 was to enhance the road safety push and not solely augment the government exchequer. “Let me tell you that the government has no intention to increase its revenue by imposing heavy motor vehicle fines on the common people. The whole exercise is aimed towards improved safety on Indian roads."
The MoRTH Minister said the need of the hour was to curb the ever-increasing Indian road fatalities. 400 people die everyday in India and 1.50 lakh die every year, which is the highest in the world. Enforcing road safety is our strong focus area and the government is committed to reduce road accident-related deaths. People must learn to respect traffic norms and also there must be a fear among vehicle users that no one can get away by violating traffic rules. I'm confidence that this act will go a long way towards ensuring enhanced safety on Indian roads.”
Gadkari shares his perspective on how various state governments have voiced reservations over the hefty motor vehicle fines. "Every state government has the right to reduce fines or tweak the act to some extent and we don't see any problem with that, the Minister said on the sidelines of gracing an event where Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) rolled out its first BS VI-compliant two-wheeler - Activa 125 in New Delhi.