Road Rules: India’s New Traffic Rules

The roads in India are deemed as some of the most dangerous places in the country. When depressing statistics of road accidents hit the headlines in newspapers, we should ideally stop and think about how the roads can be made safer. Recently, the Lok Sabha has approved an amendment proposed to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Referred to as the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016, the proposals in this bill will address some of the problems on the road and improve the safety of commuters.

So what is the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016?

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways grouped together 18 Transport Ministers of States to make suggestions to improve the provisions in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The recommendations from the committee will modify 68 of 223 sections present in the Motor Vehicles Act. The amendments include heavier fines for traffic violations, comprehensive rules for overall road safety, automated testing procedures for obtaining driving licenses, National Registry for all vehicles, and guidelines to encourage commuters to assist victims of road accidents. The amendments also simplify the process of raising claims under motor insurance policies and the settlement of the same. The proposed changes are expected to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road accidents by 50% by the year 2020. Other recommendations in the Bill aim to improve public transport facilities and road connectivity. Reduction in corruption and waiting time for registration of vehicles using automated technology is another refreshing change proposed by the Bill.

Traffic Rules in India

Highlights Of The Bill:

The key highlights of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 are as follows:

  • The Bill proposes amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, to take care of issues associated with third-party liability insurance, road safety, and regulation of cab aggregators.
  • The Bill proposes a maximum limit for third-party liability insurance claims following accidents to Rs.10 lakh for death and Rs.5 lakh for serious injuries.
  • The Bill recommends a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund that offers compulsory insurance coverage to all commuters in India to protect against specific types of accidents.
  • The Bill looks to leverage e-Governance to deliver services to stakeholders. This includes setting up online learning services, removing the need for submitting educational qualifications for transport licenses, increasing the validity of driving licenses, etc.
  • The recommendation for the guardian/car owner to be held responsible for an offence committed by a juvenile is noteworthy. The juvenile will be tried under the JJ Act and the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled.
  • The Bill also recommends that the State Government should have the power to specify a multiplier between 1 and 10 that will be applied to each fine, for specific cases.
  • To assist in Divyang transport solutions, the difficulties in receiving driving licenses and vehicle alterations will be removed.
  • The testing and certification process for automobiles will be regulated in a more efficient manner. The testing authorities have also been brought under the governance of the Act.
  • There is a proposal for creating a National Register for Driving License and a National Register for Vehicle Registration through “Sarathi” and “Vahan” platforms.

Penalties For Traffic Offences:

The penalties for traffic offences have been revised under the Bill. The updated penalties are as follows:

Section Description Old Provision New Provision
177 General Rs.100 Rs.500
New 177A Violation of road regulation rules Rs.100 Rs.500
178 Travelling without a ticket Rs.200 Rs.500
179 Disobeying orders of authorities Rs.500 Rs.2,000
180 Using vehicles without license in an unauthorised manner Rs.1,000 Rs.5,000
181 Driving a vehicle without valid license Rs.500 Rs.5,000
182 Driving in spite of disqualification Rs.500 Rs.10,000
182 B Using oversized vehicles New regulation Rs.5,000
183 Overspeeding Rs.400 Rs.1,000 for Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) Rs.2,000 for medium passenger vehicle
184 Dangerous driving Rs.1,000 Up to Rs.5,000
185 Driving while intoxicated with alcohol Rs.2,000 Rs.10,000
189 Racing or speeding Rs.500 Rs.5,000
192 A Driving a vehicle without permit Up to Rs.5,000 Up to Rs.10,000
193 Aggregators who violate licensing conditions New regulation Rs.25,000 - Rs.1 lakh
194 Overloading Rs.2,000 and Rs.1,000 for each tonne extra Rs.20,000 and Rs.2,000 for each tonne extra
194 A Overloading of passengers   Rs.1,000 for each additional passenger
194 B Not wearing seat belt Rs.100 Rs.1,000
194 C Overloading of two wheelers Rs.100 Rs.2,000 and 3 months of disqualification for license
194 D Not wearing helmet Rs.100 Rs.1,000 and 3 months of disqualification for license
194 E Not giving way for emergency vehicles New regulation Rs.10,000
196 Driving without vehicle insurance Rs.1,000 Rs.2,000
199 Juvenile offences New regulation Guardian/vehicle owner will be held responsible. Rs.25,000 fine with 3 years imprisonment. Juvenile will be tried under JJ Act. The vehicle’s registration will also be cancelled
206 Officers can impound documents   Suspend driving licenses under sections 183, 184, 185, 189, 190, 194C, 194D, 194E
210 B Offences by enforcing authorities   Twice the fine under the corresponding section

Basic Road Rules That Need To Be Followed In India:

Some of the basic rules that need to be followed while driving in India are as follows:

  • Driving is allowed on the left side of the road and overtaking from the right.
  • Drivers should use relevant hand signals or indicators when slowing down, overtaking, turning, or stopping.
  • The driver should make sure that the vehicle registration marks are always displayed and not hidden by any load stored in the vehicle.
  • It is necessary to follow lane discipline strictly. If a vehicle is turning to the left, it should be in the left lane of the road. The same applies to vehicles turning right as well.
  • Drivers are mandated to give free passage to ambulances and fire service vehicles.
  • Two wheelers should not change lanes on roads where vehicles are moving at high speed.
  • Do not drive at a speed higher than the specified limit or 25 kmph when passing by a construction site, hospital, or school.
  • Do not drive on footpaths and take care to stop at pedestrian crossings.
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