Traffic rule violation to warrant higher fines and penalties with an added jail term: Tiny steps for safer Indian roads

With the Union Cabinet approving proposed changes in the Motor Vehicle Act, penalty and fines levied on traffic rule violators in India is set to increase. To be introduced in the Budget session, the new bill would warrant a fine of Rs 500 fine for not wearing seat belt and helmet. The fine remains the same for anyone jumping a signal the first time.

The bill introduces penalties for mobile phone usage when driving. Fines would now have a structure wherein repeat offenders would pay more than in the case of first time offenders.

Drunk driving penalties are said to be revised and could include a jail term. Determining the gravity of the offence would be based on alcohol levels in blood and may result in jail term upto two-years, a fine Rs 5,000, or both, and would keep increasing subsequently including cancellation of one’s driving license.

Repeat traffic offences pertaining to breaking red lights, disregard for seat belts, and helmets would attract fines upto Rs 1,500. Penalties related to phone usage while driving or riding could warrant a fine of upto Rs 5000 for repeat offenders. Stricter fines have been proposed to act as a deterrent to users as it has been identified as a major factor when it comes to road accidents. Speed limits offences could attract Rs 1,000 fine for 1st time offenders, and subsequent penalties could be upto the tune of Rs. 5000.

Amendments in the Motor Vehicle Bill are catering to higher fines that would work towards deterring offenders. In certain offences, the fine increase is likely to be eight-10 folds over existing fines. Henceforth, vehicle owners would be made accountable if a minor is caught driving.

Fine and penalty hikes are being concentrated on major causes of accidents and fatalities on India’s roads. This includes speeding, drunk driving, use of cellphone, and not wearing of seatbelts and helmet. Higher fines and longer jail terms for repeat offences is high on the agenda as of now to deter offenders from jeopardizing their own lives and that of others.