Polity and Governance

The Motor Vehicles Act Amended

Introduction
•The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed Parliament recently.
•The amendments will improve road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last mile connectivity through automation, computerization and online services.
 
The Journey of the Bill
•The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of States
•The GoM was headed by Shri. Yoonus Khan, the then Transport Minister of Rajasthan, and had 18 State Transport Ministers from different political parties as members.  
•Previous NDA Government introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016.
•The Bill as passed by Lok Sabha was introduced in Rajya Sabha and was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
•The Select Committee presented its report to the Parliament in 2017.
•The Bill was pending in the Rajya Sabha and lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
 
Road Safety
•The Bill proposes to increase penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations. 
•Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc. 
•Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations. 
 
Vehicle Fitness
•The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles. 
•Penalty has been provided  for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations as well as body builders and spare part suppliers.
•The process for testing and certification for automobiles is proposed to be regulated more effectively.  The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes.
 
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.
 
Road Safety Board
•The Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government.
•The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including standards of motor vehicles,  registration and licensing of vehicles,  standards for road safety, and  promotion of new vehicle technology.
 
Protection of Good Samaritan
•To help road accident victims, Good Samaritan guidelines have been incorporated in the Bill. 
•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, and provides rules to prevent harassment of such a person.
 
Cashless Treatment
•The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour
•Golden hour as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
 
Compensation for road accident victims
•The central government 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.
 
Third Party Insurance
•The Bill has included the driver’s attendant in 3rd Party insurance.
•There will be no cap on liability of insurers.
•There will be a 10 time increase in insurance compensation, from Rs 50, 000 to Rs 5 lakh.
•Claim process has been simplified and Insurance firms have to pay claims within a month, if the victim’s family agree to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation.  
 
Motor Vehicle Accident Fund
•The central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
•It will be utilised for: 
     •treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, 
     •compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident, 
     •compensation to a person grievously hurt in a hit and run accident, and 
     •compensation to any other persons as prescribed by the central government.  
 
Taxi aggregators
•The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services). 
•These aggregators will be issued licenses by state  Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
 
Offences and Penalties
•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%.
 



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