There has been a constant rise in traffic-like situations in metropolitan cities of India. This has led to rash driving, road fatalities, and other offences under the Motor Vehicle Act. However, to get certain things under control, the government has made changes in the penalty structure and has implemented the New Motor Vehicle Act enacting the same.
In this article, we will be focusing on Section 279 IPC - Indian Penal Code - Rash driving or riding on a public way. Let us begin.
As per Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code, individuals driving or riding a vehicle on any public ways in a rash or negligent manner that endangers human life or is most likely to injure other people will be punished by law. The punishment for the same is imprisonment up to six months, a penalty of INR 1000, or both.
It is your responsibility to drive carefully because any minor error can send you behind bars. So, in case of reckless driving or overspeeding that can most likely hurt others is offensive by law, under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code.
Now you must be wondering what could be accounted for as reckless or negligent driving. We have explained the same below.
When individuals are driving a vehicle without following the traffic safety or driving rules, it is an offence. The carelessness of driving becomes a determining factor for rashness and negligence. However, simply driving a little over the speed limit does not count as reckless driving.
As a matter of fact, when the individual driving the vehicle is capable of controlling the high speed, or in case the road driven on is empty, the act is not accounted for rash and negligent driving.
Also, there are certain highways with a set speed limit, which is generally high, is established by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Speeding in such a scenario will not be held accountable for an offence under Sec 279 IPC.
However, if the individual is driving a vehicle on public roads carelessly and has high chances of putting other people’s lives in danger will be found guilty of committing the offence under the said Section.
If the individual causes an accident due to rash and negligent driving, resulting in any bodily injuries of other individuals, then he is guilty of committing an offence under Section 279 of the new Motor Vehicle Act. Moreover, he will also be held liable under Section 337 of IPC - imprisonment for up to six months or penalty, and Section 338 of IPC - imprisonment of up to 2 years or a hefty penalty.
In case the individual driving the vehicle is under the influence of intoxicants and causes an accident further resulting in the death of other people will be held guilty under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code.
An excellent example of this would be the judgement passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in one of its cases. Here, a truck driver who was guilty of driving recklessly and negligently at high speed climbed the footpath and hit an individual from behind, causing his death. This act of rash and negligent driving of the truck driver on a public road was liable for an offence under Section 279 and 304A (causing death due to negligent driving) of IPC.
This clearly states that Section 270 of IPC only deals with rash and negligent driving or riding on public roads that may put other people’s lives in danger.
However, if this act results in any bodily injuries or death of other individuals then the offence is charged under Section 337 (causing harm by an act endangering life or personal safety of other people), Section 338 (causing severe injuries by an act endangering life or personal safety of other people), and Section 304A (causing death of other people due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.
If you are found guilty for an offence under Section 279 of IPC - rash and negligence driving on public roads - then you will be facing imprisonment for up to six months, a penalty of up to INR 1000, or both. The term of the IPC 279 punishment and the penalty charged is completely dependent on the nature and seriousness of the crime.