Indian Government to Bring New Road Safety Bill with Stricter Fines
The Indian traffic situation is a huge mess. We have a huge number of casualties on the Indian roads every year. The country reports around five lakh road accidents annually with a death toll of about 1.4 lakh. This huge number is a blot on our country’s reputation. To stop the menace, the government plans to bring new Road safety rules.
Prime Minister Modi’s first major bill is going to be the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014. The draft proposes strict penalties and punishments for citizens who violate the law. The bill addresses issues such as drunk driving, deaths caused through accidents, faulty manufacturing designs and negligent driving.
The new Road Transport and Safety Bill proposes heavy penalties for traffic violations. For first-time drunk driving incident, a person will be fined Rs. 25,000, or imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, or both, along with a six-month license suspension. A second offense within three years will result in Rs 50,000 penalty or imprisonment for up to one year, or both and a one-year license suspension.
The law comes down even heavier on school bus drivers. The bus drivers who are caught driving drunk will face Rs 50,000 fine with imprisonment for three years while “immediate cancellation” of license will take place in case of drivers in the age-group of 18 to 25 years involved in such incidences.
Death of a child in certain circumstances will attract penalties up to Rs. 3 lakh along with a minimum 7-year imprisonment. Rash and negligent driving would lead to cancellation of licenses.
Breaking signals will not come cheap if this bill becomes a law. It proposes Rs 15,000 fine for violating traffic signals three times. It will also include licence cancellation for a month and compulsory refresher training. Even vehicle manufacturers come in the ambit of this law. A fine of Rs. 5 lakh per vehicle, as well as imprisonment, has also been proposed for faulty manufacturing designs, which is a welcome step.
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Providing safe, efficient, cost effective and faster transport across the country is our mission.”
However, the All India Road Transport Workers Federation panned the law saying that the government didn’t consider ground realities before writing the bill. It said that bad roads are a major cause of accidents. They also said that most of the buses are built of lorry chassis. They said that with this law transport drivers would be viewed as criminals.
The draft bill has been made public, and if you have any views or opinions regarding the law, you can send your feedback to [email protected], [email protected]. The government plans to introduce the law in the winter session of the Parliament.
We believe India is in a desperate state of improvements in the field of road safety. What the government needs to do is introduce a strict lane system and make sure that unlike previous efforts, it is enforced correctly. Stricter fines do act as good deterrents of public violations, but what they really need to introduce is a serious test for getting a license. Introduction of driving lessons in schools would be a great way of inculcating good road manners into the citizens of tomorrow.
Most importantly, road infrastructure in this country is in need of serious repairs and extensions. Good roads lead to faster transportation and faster economy building. So the government should take proactive steps in making the transport infrastructures better while inculcating the right road usage values into the citizens.