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Section 177 of Motor Vehicle Act (MV Act 177)

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

  • Dangerous driving

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.

  • Drunken Driving

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.

  • Driving without a valid license

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 for driving despite being disqualified is now Rs. 10,000 which was Rs. 500 previously.

  • Penalty for over-speeding

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. For a light motor vehicle, the penalty will be Rs. 2,000. For medium passenger or goods vehicles and subsequent offence, the penalty is somewhere between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 4,000.

In case you are caught racing and speeding, you can face an imprisonment for up to a month and/or pay a fine of 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.

  • Freeloading on public transport

Travelling without a ticket in state transport buses will cost you more. The amount of penalty for the offense has been increased from up to Rs. 200 to Rs. 500.

You may have to pay a penalty of Rs. 2,000 in case you disobey government orders and refuse to share the information requested by authorities. Before this, the penalty amount for this offense was Rs. 500.

  • Using vehicles for an unauthorised purpose

Unauthorised use of vehicles without a licence will cost you Rs 5,000, up from the previous penalty amount of Rs 1,000.

  • Accident-related offences

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, you will have to face an imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or you may have to pay a heavy fine of up to Rs. 10,000.

  • Violations of traffic rules

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. 

  • Expiry of driving licence

Do not take it lightly if your license has expired. According to the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, you can apply for driving license renewal any time between one year before its expiry date and up to one after its expiry. This implies that if your motor driving license is expiring in October 2020, then you can apply for its renewal between October 2019 to 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.

  • Change in residence address

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.

  • If your minor kid is held for driving the motor vehicle

Giving your minor child the keys to your car will be worrisome for more than one reason now. According to the new law, if the vehicle is driven by a child, the registration of your vehicle may be cancelled for one year. After a span of 1 year, you will have to submit a fresh application to get your vehicle registered hat 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. According to the Act, these fines will have an annual increase of 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. 

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