New law: Severe punishment now for drunken driving and not wearing seat belts

New Delhi: The Cabinet on Fridayapproved the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016. The bill specifically targets traffic offenders with stringent penal provisions. The bill has identified priority areas for improving road safety. Stricter penalties are proposed for high risk offences such as drunken driving, dangerous driving, overloading, non-adherence to safety norms by drivers (such as use of seat belt, helmets). 


The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9, 2016 and was referred to Departmental Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by Mukul Roy.  



The Motor Vehicle Act 1988 is a 30-year-old instrument which had not kept pace with the change of dynamics of road transport & information technology.  


The bill provides for facilitating delivery of services to the citizens and transporters. The bill aims to provide for maximum governance with minimum government. This would help in reducing the harassment faced by the stakeholders in the RTO offices. A national data base of vehicles and driving licences would help in safety and security and avoid malpractices.  


Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said it is a largely pro-people initiative and will reform the Motor Vehicle insurance sector. 


"It provides specific timelines for processing of insurance claims. A ten fold increase has been made in the amount of compensation awarded under a simplified process of claims disbursal wherein the family of an accident victim would get compensation of Rs 5 lakh as settlement within four months of the accident. Presently it takes at least four to five years for an award," he said. 


In the accidental death cases arising from hit and run accidents, the bill proposes an increase of compensation to Rs 2 lakh, an eight fold increase over current.


PTI