Be careful! Now think twice before violating the traffic rules. The time for negligence is over. Prior to pressing the accelerator, check your licence, helmet and other gadgets and never try to talk to your near and dear ones on the mobile while driving. Though old habits die hard, change your attitude at the earliest, or be ready to loosen your purse strings.
Rules to bring awareness & discipline
Strict traffic rules and regulations and higher traffic penalties have come into effect across the country from September 1, 2019 onwards. Last month, the parliament passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2019 with an intention to create fear and deterrent among regular traffic violators.
The objective behind imposing harsh penalties for traffic violations is an attempt to bring discipline on the Indian roads. At present, it is estimated that more than 400 people die on Indian roads every day due to road accidents. Hence, government’s initiative is a positive step to curb the carnage on Indian roads resulting from speeding, carelessness, drunk driving and so on.
Some of the provisions you need to keep in mind while driving, to avoid huge penalties:
– Traffic officials have now got the power to note down the names of regular offenders who violate traffic rules like jumping the red signal, talking on mobile while driving, racing, drunk driving and so on. Such regular offenders will now face higher penalties and risk of landing in jail.
– Must check the possession of driving licence, because fine for driving without a licence is Rs 5,000 now or up to 3 months’ jail or both (earlier Rs 500 or up to 3 months’ jail or both).
– Youngsters! days of impressing your friends with zig zag driving on the roads are now gone. Obey traffic rules, otherwise traffic cops are vigilant to impose penalty for rash driving – between Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 for light motor vehicles and Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000 for medium passenger and goods vehicles.
– Don’t mix drinking and driving together, otherwise the new traffic rules would put you behind bars for 6 months or impose fine of Rs 10,000, or both, for the first offence. A repeat performance would be more dangerous. It may send you to jail for two years or fine of Rs 15,000, or both.
– Those addicted to mobile gaming, pay attention! Mobile phone use/ wrong overtaking and driving against traffic flow is going to invite Rs 1,000 to 5,000 fine, or 6-12 months’ jail, or both. Subsequent offence will result in fine of Rs 10,000, or 2 years’ jail, or both.
– Drivers should always keep their eyes on the mirrors. Appreciate the importance of emergency vehicles and give way to such vehicles immediately. If you fail to follow this rule, then you may end up paying a fine of Rs 10,000.
– Taxi drivers also need to renew their driving licence on time. Otherwise, if caught in violation, then they should be ready to shell out a heavy amount of up to Rs 1 lakh.
– Earlier, it was a general habit of drivers to wear the seatbelt in busy areas only to deceive the traffic police. Now, those driving without the seatbelt will face a fine of Rs 1,000 (earlier Rs 100).
– Update the insurance papers on time, as otherwise the fine is Rs 2,000, or 3 months’ jail, or both. Charge for driving without helmet is Rs 1,000 or may be suspension of licence for 3 months.
– The penalty for driving in spite of disqualification has gone up to a steep amount of Rs 10,000, or up to 3 months’ jail, or both (earlier Rs 500 or up to 3 months’ jail or both).
– Parents/ guardians! keep the vehicle keys in your possession; never allow your underage children to drive at any cost. If any minor is caught driving, then the guardians or owner of the vehicle will be deemed guilty, and will have to pay Rs 25,000 penalty, along with 3 years-imprisonment and cancellation of the registration. Additionally, the juvenile will not be able to get a licence till 25 years of age.
– Entrepreneurs must be cautious while loading their vehicles. Remember and refresh the old phrase ‘excess of everything is bad’. Penalty for overloading vehicles has been increased to Rs 20,000.
– The challans will only be payable in courts.
New system to monitor offences
Union minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari said that an “intelligent traffic system” will monitor offences. Common traffic offences such as the use of mobiles, jumping traffic lights and driving on the wrong lane will be categorised as “dangerous driving”.
Online test mandatory to get licence
He further clarified that the process of making driver’s licence would be computerised and anyone – from a minister to a parliamentarian-would get their licence only after passing the online tests.
New rules look positive
At the outset, the new motor vehicle rules are looking very positive. Their proper implementation will definitely help in reducing the high number of casualties on the Indian roads. People can now get their driving licence renewed anytime within a period of 1 year before the expiry of the licence. Commercial licences will also be valid for a period of 5 years now, as opposed to 3 years earlier.
Awareness among people regarding their responsibilities on the road, and genuine efforts to avoid mistakes, are expected to make road travel safe and smooth for everyone. The preferred outcome would be an all-round discipline on the road when everyone works within the limitations of relevant laws. This is one face of the coin. What is the other face?
Ugly face of our traffic system
Everyone in India knows how our traffic police deal with the violators. There are instances of cops handing out challans in a selective manner. In fact, the general perception is that high and mighty get away without any major consequences, while ‘aam aadmi’ has to face the music. Now that the penalty for traffic violations has increased, there is also a fear among the general public of facing unnecessary harassment by the cops.
Meanwhile, the States of Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have refused to notify the changes, while Rajasthan has asked for review of the steep hike in penalties.