In a recent incident, a bike rider in Gurugram was issued a challan of Rs. 23,000 by the Haryana Police for multiple violations of traffic rules. According to Police authorities, the penance was calculated in accordance with the Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 that came into effect from 1st September after the Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill on 31st July.
The bill proposed some major changes to the traffic laws and vehicle norms in India in order to increase road safety, avert the non-renewal of two wheeler insurance, and provide adequate compensation to the victims of road accidents. Here is a brief round up of some major changes proposed by the bill that you need to watch out for.
Hefty penalties for traffic rule violations
Under the new law, you may now have to pay hefty fines and penalties for traffic rule violations such as over speeding, driving without license, registration certificate, valid insurance policy etc. The table below depicts few common traffic-related offences and the proposed penalty amount that you may have to pay as per the new rules:
|Offence||Earlier Penalty||Proposed Penalty|
|Driving without license||Rs. 500||Rs. 5,000|
|Driving a vehicle without RC||Rs. 500||Rs. 5,000|
|Driving an insured vehicle||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 2,000|
|Driving without a valid PUC||Rs. 10,000||Rs. 1,000|
|No seatbelt or helmet||Rs. 100||Rs. 1,000|
|Blocking emergency vehicles||No provision||Rs. 1,000|
|Racing or speeding||Rs. 500||Rs. 5,000|
|Drunk driving||Rs. 2,000||Rs. 10,000|
|Driving a vehicle without permit||Rs. 5,000||Rs. 10,000|
|Dangerous or rash driving||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 5,000|
|Disobeying traffic signals||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 5,000|
|Overloading of vehicle||Rs. 2,000||Rs. 20,000|
|Unauthorised use of vehicles||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 5,000|
|Driving despite disqualification||Rs. 500||Rs. 10,000|
|Over speeding||Rs. 400||Rs. 2,000|
|Seizing motor vehicle by force||Rs. 500||Rs. 5,000|
|Causing obstruction to traffic flow||Rs. 50||Rs. 500|
According to the Government, the purpose of increasing the traffic fines is not to impose heavy penalties on the citizens, but to infuse road discipline in them and thereby, minimise the loss of lives through accidents.
Hike in compensation for road accident victims
With an aim to provide interim relief to the victims of road accidents, the new bill proposed a multiple-fold hike of the compensation amount under third-party motor insurance. The minimum compensation for hit and run cases is now increased from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakh in case of death and to Rs. 50,000 from Rs. 12,500 in case of grievous injury.
Also, as per the new act, the central Government will constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which will provide mandatory insurance cover to all road users in India. This fund will be used for the cashless treatment of road accident victims during the golden hour i.e. a period of up to one hour after a traumatic injury, and to provide compensation to the relatives in case of death of the victim.
Impact on two-wheeler insurance
According to the data by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, almost 4.64 lakh road accidents took place in India in 2017, killing 1.47 lakh people. The two-wheelers accounted for about two-thirds of these accidents. Slowly, as the new rules with heftier fines will come into effect, people may start taking traffic rules more seriously and will avoid driving uninsured vehicles.
The new move will hence act as a catalyst towards eliminating the use of uninsured bikes and scooters in the country. In fact, as per the data from India’s largest online insurance aggregator, there has been a rush among the motorists to renew their lapsed third party bike insurance policies since the implementation of the new Act.