A study of traffic laws in five countries by a working group set up by the Transport Ministry has gone into the preparation of the draft ‘Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014’. The study group will be taking into account suggestions from the public while it aims to save upto two lakh lives per year, create 10 lakh job opportunities and aid in GDP growth.With rise in vehicular traffic across India, it is of prime importance that Indian govt meets road transport and safety measure norms on par with developed nations.
However, this ‘Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014’, though it is expected to make a sea change in the overall transportation scenario in the country, has met with some opposition from car companies. Auto companies in India label this bill and government recall proposals as arbitrary and unnecessary. The Bill proposes that a vehicle should be recalled if a defect is reported by 100 or more persons. This defect should be such that it could cause harm to driver or passengers in the vehicle besides road users or make the vehicle unusable.
The auto industry cites this proposal of 100 complaints as too small a threshold and it should be decided on case to case basis, nature of the problem on hand and seriousness of the issue and should not be a blanket rule imposed in the final bill.
While the auto industry has been advocating for a voluntary recall policy (as is the case as of now), the passing of this bill will make it mandatory. The proposal stipulates a fine of INR 5 lakhs per vehicle for defects while manufacturers will have to compensate buyers of the full amount of the vehicle in case of recall or replacement of the defective vehicle with another vehicle.