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India on its way to get road safety law

Aug 03, 2019

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 shall replace the three-decade-old Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

New Delhi: In a move that could transform Road Safety in India, the Rajya Sabha today passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill (MVAB), 2019. The motion to ‘consider and pass’ the Bill was moved by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and a road crash victim himself.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 shall replace the three-decade-old Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which was found to be severely inadequate to deal with the rising number of road crash deaths in India. In 2018, close to one lakh fifty thousand people were killed and ten times more were seriously injured in road crashes across India.

India has had the dubious distinction of being world number one in road crash deaths, which makes the passage of this Bill important even for India's global standing.

The new law introduces several reforms ranging from improvements in driver licensing system to statutes for the protection of children and vulnerable road users, holding road contractors and engineers accountable, and rationalizing penalties, which had not been updated for decades.

Interestingly, the soon-to-be Act carries a provision under Section 210 wherein enforcement officials will have to pay double the prescribed penalty should they be found in violation of the Act. In order to remove corruption from enforcement, Section 136A of the passed bill proposes electronic (camera and radar-based) enforcement, which removes the human intervention in collecting fines and therefore prevents bribery at the scene of enforcement.

As an organization working for road safety in India for over a decade and having contributed to the drafting of the Bill, SaveLIFE Foundation welcomes the passage of the Bill in Rajya Sabha. Commenting on the development, Founder of SaveLIFE Foundation, Piyush Tewari said.

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