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Author: Sanni Kumar, IV year of B.S.L LL.B from Manikchand Pahade Law College Aurangabad, Maharashtra


India has the second-largest road network on the planet. India's road network has expanded from 4 lakh km in 1951 to 47 lakh km in 2011. India features a road density of 1.42 km/ which is dense for a rustic of this size and compares favourably with other middle-income and emerging countries. In India in 2017 as per data by the 'Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.' 4.64 lakhs accidents occurred that claimed the lives of 1.47 lakh people. Two-wheelers accounted for a 3rd of all road accidents. The automobile act 2019 came into effect on 1 September, which has gotten difficult for those breaking traffic rules. From higher penalties for driving errors to imprisonment up to 1 month for racing & speeding and up to 6 months for offences concerning accidents, the new act is bringing back things so as by instilling fear. According to the 2018 report of the Earth Health Organization, the absolute best number of road accidents occur in India worldwide. Even China, the foremost populous country, is behind us in this regard. As per the report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 2017; there are about 5 lakh road accidents occurring in India once a year during which around 1.5 lakh people are killed. There are around 1.49 lakh folks that died in 2018 in road accidents with Uttar Pradesh registering the utmost spike in fatalities. So to prevent the menace of road accidents; the central government has amended the car 1988 by the automobiles (Amendment) Bill 2019. This new act is being passed by the Lok Sabha on Jul 23, 2019, and by Rajya Sabha on Jul 31, 2019. After the passing of this bill, Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says that the Bill will provide an Efficient, Safe, and Corruption Free Transport System within the Country.

Why is it?

As long as the Act wanted to discourage individuals from violating traffic rules, it introduced heavy fines for drunken driving, driving without a license, dangerous driving, over-speeding, etc. These penalties are getting to be increasing by 10 percent once a year on April 1, as notified by the Central government. The new Act has also extended the quantity for renewal of driving licenses from one month to a minimum of one year after the date of expiry. As long as the renewal is delayed for quite a year, will the driver have to undergo a test of competence? The Act also promises to protect those folks that render emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim of an accident, from any civil or criminal liability. The minimum liability for a hit-and-run death or serious injury has been increased significantly.

Why is it important?

According to data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, there were 4.64 lakh accidents in 2017, with 1.47 lakh people killed. About a third of all road deaths involved two-wheelers. Slowly, when all states begin enforcing the Act's provisions, such as increased penalties and incarceration for drunken driving, driving without a licence or insurance, and juvenile offences, the Act's provisions are being implemented. In the last week itself, there has been a rush among motorists to renew their lapsed insurance policies, consistent with data from the most important online insurance aggregator. Valid motor insurance is vital so that the aggrieved parties during a road accident get compensation. However, note that as long as it's only a model Act, State governments are liberal to make their laws and rules. The extent to which states implement the Act's provisions determines its success.

Why should I care?

You will lose money if you do not meet the Act's traffic and road safety laws. The fine for not wearing a helmet has risen from 100 to 1,000, including a three-month licence suspension. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt has increased to 1,000. The fine for speeding or racing has risen from 500 to 5,000, and the fine for drunken driving has risen from 2,000 to 10,000. The penalty for driving without a valid licence has increased to $5,000.

Besides the upper penalty, the new Act also includes imprisonment for severe crimes. Speed racing can attract imprisonment for 3 months (with or without a fine); this might reach 1 year if caught for the second time. For offences committed by minors, the parent or owner of the car is found guilty and faces a fine of 25,000 rupees and three years in jail. The juvenile would be charged under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000, and the vehicle's registration would be suspended for a year. The owner of an automobile who alters it by way of retrofitting of automobile parts during a fashion not permitted under the Act shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which can reach six months (and/or with a fine of ₹5,000 per such alteration).

Compensation for road accident victims

1. The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows:

(i) just in case of death, from Rs 25,000 to 2 lakh rupees, and

(ii) just in case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

2. Recall of vehicles: The New Bill allows the central government to order for recall of defective automobiles which may harm the environment, or drive, or other road users.

3. Road Safety Board: The National Road Safety Board, is to be created by the central government to advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.

4. Offence and Fines: The new Bill has increased fines for several offences under the Act.

i. Fine for Drink and Driving: Now the fine is increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 in conjunction with imprisonment of 6 months. On the repetition of this act, the fine would be Rs. 15,000.

ii. Rash driving will cost a fine of Rs. 5000; earlier it had been Rs.1000.

iii. Driving without a driver's license is going to be fined Rs 5000 rather than 500 earlier.

iv. Juvenile Offense may be introduced as a substitute category. The Guardian of the Juvenile/Owner of the Car will also be fined Rs. 25,000 and sentenced to three years in jail. And get a juvenile tried under the Juveniles Justice Act. The automobile's registration will be revoked.

v. If a vehicle manufacturer fails to suit automobile standards, the penalty is getting to be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to a minimum of one year, or both.

vi. If a contractor fails to suit road design standards, the penalty is getting to be up to Rs.1 lac.

vii. Under section 196 of the automobile Act, 2019 driving without Insurance are going to be fined Rs 2000.

viii. Under section 194 D of the act; riding without Helmets is to be fined Rs 1000 and disqualification for 3 months for the licence.

ix. Under section 194B of the Act, driving without a security belt will cost Rs. 1000.

x. Speeding / Racing are getting to be fined Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 500 earlier.

xi. Under section 194 E of the Act; not providing for emergency vehicles will cost Rs 10,000.

Impact of new motor Vehicle Act

Laws are simpler only the general public is made conscious of the explanations and benefits behind them. alongside the enforcement of the automobile act (Amendment) Act 2019, there should be a sustained effort to reinforce awareness about road safety measures to enhance the behavioural factors that cause accidents. Road safety education must be imparted to an honest cross-section of society. It should begin in schools, and driving lessons should be offered as a college elective. The novel themes are included. For example, this year's Janmashtami 'Rider Krishna' was created to raise public awareness about road safety laws.

And finally, it's the uniform implementation of the Act across the board which will yield desirable results. the state cannot afford to lose innocent lives on the roads. It's time to bite the bullet and conform to the enforcement – saving lives at any cost, even at the worth of populism. The goal of reduction in loss of lives to road accidents is attainable as long as the chief ministers of various states are driven by the intent to understand it. Uniform enforcement of automobiles (Amendment) Act, 2019, after all, is additionally a reflection of the political will.

The bottom line

The famous saying goes, "Alert today, alive tomorrow." 'Be alert to laws, to save your wallet,' says the new Act.


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