You just have to keep driving down the road. It's going to bend and curve and you'll speed up and slow down, but the road keeps going. Ellen DeGeneres nonchalantly remarked this metaphorically, but if you take the literal meaning of her words, driving down the road is not going to be easy. Especially not with the amendments introduced in the Motor Vehicles Act passed recently, coming into effect from September 1, 2019.
India is committed in its mission to reduce road accidents and fatalities by half. The statistics need a boost, however. The ministry of road transport and highways released data stating that in 2018, Indian roads witnessed over 4.67 lakhs road accidents, which further claimed lives of over 1.5 lakh people.
No wonder then, that the government is taking note of this gap and the Parliament recently passed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to come into effect from September 1, 2019. With stricter provisions in place, one thing is for sure: even a minuscule driving error will be penalized and severely so. One seemingly harmless traffic fine can cost you a whopping sum, perhaps even equal to or more than your total monthly fuel expenses.
In keeping with this, the transport ministry recently issued a notification with all the laws that have come into effect starting September 1, 2019. Let us have a look at these laws.
Enhancement of penalties
One of the major amendments that have made us all sit back and take notice is the increase in the penalties for driving errors and misjudgments.
As an overview, the first offence penalty has been hiked from Rs 100 to Rs 500 and any second/subsequent offence from up to Rs 300 to Rs 1,500. That’s a 5 times increase. The press release has sent the message clearly: you cannot flout traffic rules anymore without having serious financial repercussions.
New Motor Vehicle Act 2019 Penalties
Love zooming through the road for thrills? You might attract imprisonment of six months to one year and/or fine of between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 if your adventure is defined as dangerous driving in the eyes of law, or more specifically the cops. If caught for the second time, you could be imprisoned for up to 2 years and/or would have to pay a fine of up to Rs 10,000.
In case of drunken driving, imprisonment up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 in case of first-time offence. For the second offence, there will be a prison term of up to 2 years and/or a fine of Rs 15,000 will be levied.
Driving an uninsured vehicle
If you were skipping on motor insurance to save some money, you should know that it can be very expensive if you drive an uninsured vehicle, in addition to the fact that it can actually land you in jail now. According to the new Motor Vehicles Act, you can be penalized an amount of Rs 2,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 3 months for the first time you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle. For the second offence, a fine of Rs 4,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 months. Why not escape this trouble, get a car insurance policy available online on Finserv Markets and get a comprehensive cover against accident, theft, natural calamities, and cashless claim servicing.
Forgot your license at home? You will have to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 in case you are caught driving without a licence for the first time. This penalty used to be Rs 500 previously. A 10 times jump in the fine is bound to make you sit back and take notice of your license. It gets tougher if found driving without a valid license twice. The penalty in case of driving despite being disqualified will cost you Rs 10,000 from Rs 500 previously.
Speed thrills, but also kills — not just lives, but also your bank balance. If found over-speeding, you will now be asked to pay Rs 1,000 from the earlier Rs 400. In case of a light motor vehicle, it will be Rs 2,000. For medium passenger or goods vehicles and subsequent offence, the penalty can be between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.
If you are caught racing and speeding, you can be imprisoned for up to one month and/or a fine up to Rs 500 will be levied if it is a first time offence. In case of a second offence, though imprisonment will remain the same, the penalty can go up to Rs 10,000.
Travelling without a ticket in state transport buses will cost you more. The penalty amount has been increased from up to Rs 200 to Rs 500.
A penalty of Rs 2,000 can also be levied on you in case you disobey government orders and refuse to share the information requested with the authorities. Prior to this, the amount of penalty in such a case was Rs 500.
Unauthorised use of vehicles without a licence will cost you Rs 5,000, up from the previous penalty amount of Rs 1,000.
You do not want to be on any side of an accident, but especially not be found culpable. Offences relating to accidents can lead to imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs 5,000 for the first-time offence. For the second offence, imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a fine up to Rs 10,000 will be levied.
If you thought you could skip on that seat belt, or flout the norm for the maximum passengers, think again. New penalties have been prescribed for carrying of excess passengers, failure to use safety belt and violation of rules in seating of children, violation of safety measures for motorcycle riders and pillion riders, refusal to stop and submit vehicles for weighing, use of phones in silent zones and failure to allow free passage to emergency vehicles. Causing obstruction in the free flow of traffic can lead to a penalty of Rs 500 up from Rs 50 earlier. You better furnish your driving skills.
Do not take it lightly if your license has expired. As per the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, an individual can apply for renewal of driving licence any time between one year before its expiry and up to one after its expiry. This would mean that if your driving licence is expiring in October 2020, then you can apply for renewal from October 2019 till October 2021. However, if you apply for renewal after one year of the expiry of licence then you will be required to undertake the driving licence test once again.
If there has been a change in residence or business address, you can file for changes in your driving license online and you can apply for this to any registering authority within the state.
Giving your minor child the keys to your car will be worrisome for more than one reason now. As per the new law, if the motor vehicle is used by the child, then the registration of your vehicle may be cancelled for one year. Once the period of one year is over, you will have to submit a fresh application for the registration of your vehicle. That is not it. You will also be subject to penal provisions: you will be fined a sum of Rs 25,000 and face imprisonment of up to three years. As for the minor child, he will not be able to get his learner's licence until the age of 25. As per the Act, there will be an annual increase of these fines by up to 10 percent.
One thing is clear: the law is getting sharper claws and it is in the interest of your bank balance to not flout traffic rules.
Read all about the New Motor Vehicle Act 2019 to take proper care of yourself and your vehicle.