Road Safety Experts And Voluntary Organisations Together Urge Government To Pass The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill
- Several road safety experts came together to urge the government
- The amended Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in April 2017
- Increase in fines on drunk driving is a feature of the amended Bill
New Delhi: A number of organisations working to promote road safety and increase awareness on the same, have come together to urge the Union government to pass the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 during the second half of the Budget session, which is scheduled to begin from March 5, 2018. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha by April 2017, but is awaiting a nod from the Rajya Sabha. Several provisions of the existing Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 have been amended in the bill, with key focus on ensuring road safety. Several experts have called out for the need to implement the amendments as a staggering 1.5 lakh people die every year on India’s roads.
A number of road safety specialists came together to issue a statement on road safety and how the passage of the Bill will improve the dismal state of road safety in India. Road accident fatalities remain a major problem in India, despite India’s commitment to the Brasilia declaration at the World Health Organization (WHO) conference on Road Safety, held in 2015. India committed to reduce road accident fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020, but managed a decrease of only 3 per cent. Several factors contribute to India’s dismal performance in road safety, disregard for traffic rules by both pedestrians and drivers being one of the chief among them.
Voluntary organisations like the Road Safety Network, Parisar and Consumer Voice strongly advocated the necessity of the new Road Safety Bill to reduce accidents on roads. Citing that road accidents left unhealable scars on victims and their family members, experts said that daily incidents of road accidents was making the society numb and hence, reducing such incidents of accidents was necessary.
The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill has included certain provisions which aim to come down heavily on those who do not adhere to traffic rules. Driving under the influence of alcohol, which is seen as a major reason for numerous accidents, will be heavily penalised under the new Bill and fine for drunk driving has been raised to Rs 10,000 from Rs 2,000. The Bill also has the provision of setting up a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund which will provide accident cover to road users in India for certain types of accidents. In April 2017, Lok Sabha passed the Bill, but presently the bill is lying with a Parliamentary committee of the Rajya Sabha. In January 2018, Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari had said that he was hopeful that the Bill would be passed during the budget session of the Parliament and said that earlier passage of the bill would have reduced the number of road accident deaths in India by half.