Road safety is emerging as a major social concern in the country. No one can deny to the fact that main cause of accidents and crashes are due to human errors. According to The global report Status report on road safety published by the World Health Organization indentified the major causes of traffic collisions as driving over the speed limit, driving under the influence and not using helmets and seat belts due to which thousands of people lost their life because of such actions.
In India, the total deaths due to road accidents is around 1, 50,000 per year which is equal to 400 accidents per day. As per the government data, almost 1.5 Lakh people lost their lives in road accidents in 2017, which means every hour 17 people died on the road due to an accident in which Uttar Pradesh is the worst affected state followed by Tamil Nadu with Karnataka and Rajasthan are ranked among the top 5 states.
The Indian government has been attempting to tackle this crucial issue for several years. Many NGOs and even campaigns were driven to eliminate such issue to some extent but this is something which requires strict steps and finally on Tuesday motor Vehicles(amendment)bill,2019 was passed in Lok Sabha on Tuesday 25 July 2019.
The Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari after a long discussion presented the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha on Tuesday as the bill was passed by a voice vote.The new bill was passed to amend the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 which was tabled in the house back in 2017, but was not cleared in the upper house and eventually got lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. While Nitin Gadkari said he is here “not to show any dream” but to fulfil promises made on better, smoother roads and latest transport technology.
The Act provides for the grant of licenses and permits related to motor vehicles, standards for motor vehicles, and penalties for violation of these provisions.
1.Offences and penalties: The Bill increases penalties for several offences under the Act. For example, the maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The central government may increase fines mentioned under the Act every year by up to 10%.
2.Compensation for road accident victims: The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour with this they may also make a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance.
The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows: (i) in case of death, from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees, and (ii) in case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.
3.Good samaritans: The Bill defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident. The assistance must have been (i) in good faith, (ii) voluntary, and (iii) without the expectation of any reward. Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.
4.Compulsory insurance: The Bill requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India. It will be utilized for: (i) treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, (ii) compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident, (iii) compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and (iv) compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government. This Fund will be credited through: (i) payment of a nature notified by the central government, (ii) a grant or loan made by the central government, (iii) balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents), or (iv) any other source as prescribed the central government.
5.Recall of vehicles: The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to: (i) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or (ii) replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle with similar or better specifications.
The key highlight of the policy which everyone needs to admire and appreciate is that it states that if you help any road accident victim that doesn’t make you liable for any type of inquiry or investigation.
Under the new Motor Vehicle Act, anyone helping an accident victim won’t be liable for any civil or criminal action.Moreover the main aim of the bill is to reduce the fear among the helpers in facing any type of police inquiry and investigation if they help any accident victim..
Here’s what the clause says – “The Bill defines a good Samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident. The assistance must have been (i) in good faith, (ii) voluntary, and (iii) without the expectation of any reward. Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.”
Gadkari on a good note also said that the government has no intention to intervene with the power of states. The bill proposes a National Transportation Policy for ushering guidelines on the transportation of goods and passengers; he further added that it will be framed only after holding consultation with the states. “We will not take away any power of the states…If some states would not like to adopt that; they would be free to do that. It is not a mandatory policy,” he said.
Lets see about the outcomes of the policy that whether this will help in decling the road accident rate in India or not? Everything starts with you and me so will you support and contribute in saving yours as well as others life.