Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016: Civil Services Mentor Magazine: October - 2016

Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016

Road safety is a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional subject. It includes orderly development and management of roads, provision of safer vehicles, and a comprehensive response to accidents. It relies on modern traffic management systems and practices, improved safety standards in design, construction, operation and maintenance of roads, and production and maintenance of safer vehicles. Owing to unsafe conditions on roads, the rate of accidents in India has been high. According to WHO statistics for 2002, out of about 11.8 lakh road accident deaths across the world, 84,674 deaths were reported from India alone. In the year 2004, the number of road accident deaths in India increased to 92,618. A study undertaken by the Planning Commission in 2002 estimated the social cost of road accidents in India at about 3 per cent of GDP. Considering the gravity of the situation, there is consensus that concerted measures are necessary for reducing this high level of accident deaths and injuries through improved safety measures and traffic management.

Road safety in the country is managed by the Government at the Central and State levels supported by efforts of academia and the private sector including industry and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways in the Government of India is the administrative ministry responsible for road safety efforts in the country. National Road Safety Council (NRSC), headed by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways is the apex advisory body on road safety. It includes the Ministers in-charge of Transport in the State Governments and various official and non-official members. The Transport Development Council (TDC) chaired by the Union Minister of Transport, with the Union Ministers of Commerce, Industry, Railways and Member in-charge of Transport in Planning Commission as members is a high level forum for the formulation of common policies for the development of road transport. It also includes all the Lt. Governors/Chief Commissioners of union territories and all Ministers in charge of Transport in the state governments. The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 states that each State should have a Road Safety Council (SRSC) headed by the Minister incharge of Transport for the state government on the lines of the National Road Safety Council.  Recently the Union Cabinet has given its approval for Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. The Amendment aims to improve the problems assosiated with the road accidents. Every year 5 lakh road accidents are reported in the country in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. Government is committed to reduce the accidents and fatalities by 50% in five years. To address the issue of road safety, a draft Road Transport & Safety Bill was prepared soon after NDA Government came to power. However, most of the States have expressed reservations. To address the issue of road safety and to improve the facilitation of the citizens while dealing with transport departments, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways constituted a Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of the States. The GoM recommended that to address the pressing issue of road safety and improving transport scenario, Government should immediately bring amendments to the present Motor Vehicle Act.

In the present Motor Vehicle Act, there are 223 Sections out of which the Bill aims to amend 68 sections whereas Chapters 10 has been deleted and a Chapter 11 is being replaced with new provisions to simplify third party insurance claims and settlement process. The important provisions include increase in compensation for Hit & Run cases from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 2 lakhs. It also has provision for payment of compensation upto Rs 10 lakh in road accidents fatalities. The Bill also proposes insertion of 28 new sections. The amendments mainly focus on issues relating to improving road safety, citizens’ facilitation while dealing with the Transport Department. Strengthening rural transport, last mile connectivity and public transport, automation and computerization and enabling online services.

  • The Bill propose to improve the transport scenario in the country by permitting the States to grant exemptions in Stage carriage and contract carriage permits for promoting rural transport, public transport, last mile connectivity and for passenger convenience and road safety.

  • The Bill proposes that the State Government can specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this Act and such modified fine.

  • The bill proposes that the State Government can regulate the activities in a public place of pedestrians and such means of transport.

  • The Bill proposes offences committed by Juveniles. The Guardian / owner shall be deemed to be guilty in cases of offences by the Juveniles and Juvenile to be tried under JJ Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle to be cancelled

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