The untimely death of Rural Development Minister Mr. Gopinath Munde due to a road accident led to a much needed and delayed introspection of our rules and discipline on the road. 2013 was subjected to 4.9 lakh road accidents with a death toll of 1.38 lakhs; clearly indicating that Indian roads are one of the most undisciplined roads in the world. However with the new proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, the government is optimistic that the number of road accidents will reduce drastically.
The government is currently in the process of redrafting the Motor Vehicles amendment bill, bringing it in sync with developed countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Japan, Germany and Singapore. One of the major amendments would be suspension of license for violating traffic rules. If anyone violates the rules more than three times, his driving license will be suspended for the next six months and if the violations don’t stop, then the license will be cancelled. Rear seat belts and helmets for pillion riders will also be made mandatory.
The new bill also includes installation of CCTV cameras at all traffic signals and centralising data to check the misuse of driving licenses. Black spots for accidents will be identified across the nation and will be worked upon to be made safer. The amendment will make helmets for women mandatory and non-compliance punishable. Public transport vehicles will also have to go through some major revisions as per the amendment. Manufacturers of heavy vehicles such as trucks will be asked to make certain changes to the design to incorporate safety requirements.
The Motor Vehicles bill seeks to pose heavy penalties on traffic violators, 10 times more than the existing fines, especially for serious offences like driving under influence and over-speeding. The government will also increase the compensation value for death resulting in from a hit-and-run case to Rs. 1 lakh and for injuries to Rs. 50,000/-. The last time the Motor Vehicle Act was amended was in 2001, and over the course of 13 years a lot has changed over the roads.
Our cars are faster, roads are better comparatively and the number of vehicles plying on the roads has definitely increased. While the government is taking the effort on its part, as drivers or riders it also becomes a responsibility of the people to observe the rules of the road. Wear a seat belt, irrespective of where you are seated. Take the effort to put on a helmet which has not been bought from a roadside vendor. If the signal turns red, stop! It won’t cost you anything. All it takes is to make an effort. Take the MotorBeam Pledge and commit yourself to road safety.