The Motor Vehicles Act, passed in the year 1988 by the Indian Parliament, regulates almost all aspects of road transport vehicles. It has provisions for traffic regulations, vehicle insurance, registration of motor vehicles, controlling permits and penalties. The Act came into force from 1 July 1989.
To make roads safer, the Government of India in consultation with state transport ministers came up with this Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill to makes changes to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was passed by the Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017.
The Rajya Sabha cleared the Bill on July 31, 2019, with 108 votes in favour and 13 against it, with three amendments moved by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 proposes a huge increase in various penalties for traffic violations, protection to Good Samaritans, recall of defective vehicle parts by automobile companies, holding builders accountable for poor quality of infrastructure and making vehicle owners criminally liable for violations committed by juvenile drivers.
Below are some of the important proposals in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill:
1) It makes Aadhaar mandatory for getting a driving licence and vehicle registration.
2) For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the government will provide a compensation of Rs 2 lakh or more to the victim's family. Currently, the amount is just Rs 25,000.
3) In traffic violations by juveniles, the guardians or owner of the vehicle would be held responsible, unless they prove the offence was committed without their knowledge or they tried to prevent it.
4) The minimum fine for drunk driving has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
5) The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles.
6) 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
7) The Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification. 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.
8) The Bill provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.