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The Indian Motor Vehicle Act is a set of rules and regulations for all transport vehicles which was passed in 1988. The act covers almost every part of transportation, including the ownership and usage of road transport vehicles, licensing of conductors and drivers, traffic regulations, provisions for permits, etc. The Indian Parliament passed the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill in July 2019, and it has raised the fines for several violations to ensure better safety on the road. 

What is the Motor Vehicles Act?

The Motor Vehicles Act was passed in 1988, which specified regulations for all transport vehicles. The act governs almost all aspects regarding the ownership and usage of road transport vehicles and deals with traffic regulations, vehicle insurance, registration of vehicles and the fines associated with various types of offences. 


Furthermore, the act also laid out guidelines on the licensing of conductors and drivers, provisions for permits, traffic and road safety regulations, insurance, liabilities and penalties. The Motor Vehicles Act made it compulsory to possess a driving licence to operate a vehicle on Indian roads and mandated all vehicles to be registered under the MV Act, 1988.

Offences Covered Under the Motor Vehicle Act

Some of the offences covered under the original MV Act, 1988 include:

  • Driving without a licence

  • Allowing someone without a licence to operate a vehicle owned by you

  • Not possessing all of the relevant documentation required to operate a motor vehicle on Indian roads

  • Driving without insurance

  • Driving without a permit, if required

  • Driving without a vehicle fitness report

  • Driving without a registration certificate (RC)

  • Operation of a vehicle by a minor

  • Letting an unauthorised individual operate your vehicle

  • Riding certain motor vehicles without a helmet

  • Driving without fastening your seat belt

  • Driving over the speed limit and rash driving

  • Dangerous driving

  • Driving against the flow of traffic in a one-way lane

Updated List of Traffic Fines for Different Violations in India

Traffic Violation

New Penalty Under the New Motor Vehicles Act, 2019

Old Penalty as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

Driving/Riding without insurance

First Offence: ₹2,000 and/or 3 months prison, community service

Subsequent Offence: ₹4,000


Driving/Riding without a licence

₹5,000 and/or community service


Driving/Riding under the influence of intoxicating substances

First Offence: ₹10,000 and/or 6 months of imprisonment

Subsequent Offence: ₹15,000 and/or 2 years of imprisonment


Driving/Riding without registration

First Offence: ₹5,000

Subsequent Offence: ₹10,000



Light Motor Vehicles (LMV): ₹1,000 - ₹2,000

Medium or Heavy Motor Vehicles: ₹2,000 - ₹4,000 (with licence seizure)


Violating road regulations

₹500 - ₹1,000


Vehicles without permit

₹10,000 and/or up to 6 months in prison, community service

Up to ₹5,000

Speeding or racing

First Offence: ₹5,000 and/or 3 months of imprisonment, community service

Subsequent Offence: ₹10,000 for subsequent violation and up to 1 year in prison, community service


Dangerous driving/Jumping red lights

₹1,000 - ₹5,000 and/or imprisonment for 6 months to 1 year along with licence seizure

₹100 - ₹300

Driving while using a mobile



Overloading two-wheelers

₹2,000 and licence disqualification and/or 3 months of community service



₹20,000 along with ₹2,000 for every extra tonne and/or community service

₹2,000 along with ₹1,000 for every extra tonne

Unauthorised use of vehicles without a licence

₹1,000 - ₹5,000


Riding without a helmet (both rider and pillion rider)

₹1,000, and or licence disqualification, community service for 3 months


Driving without a seat belt

₹1,000 and/or community service


Driving/Riding despite disqualification

₹10,000, and/or community service


Juvenile offences

₹25,000 with 3 years prison, cancellation of registration for 1 year. Moreover, juveniles shall be ineligible for a licence until 25 years of age.


Disobeying the orders of the authorities



Offence committed by enforcing authorities like offering bribes

Twice the penalty (depending on the traffic rules violated)


Not letting emergency vehicles pass like ambulances, fire engines, etc.

₹10,000 and/or community service


Using horn in a silent zone

First Offence: ₹2,000

Subsequent Offence: ₹4,000


Proposals in the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill

  • The Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill of 2019 made Aadhaar a mandatory requirement for procuring a driving licence or registration certificate.

  • The compensation for the families of hit-and-run victims was raised from ₹25,000 to ₹2 Lakh.

  • There are provisions for the protection of good samaritans who come forward and help accident victims as they will be protected against civil or criminal liabilities and may remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

  • A 6-month limit has been specified for an application of compensation to the Claims Tribunal for road accidents.

  • The owner of the vehicle or the guardian shall be held responsible in case of a traffic violation by a juvenile unless they try to prevent it. Moreover, the registration of the vehicle used shall be cancelled.

  • The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund will now provide insurance coverage to all road users for certain types of accidents.

  • There is now no cap on liability for third-party insurance as the 2016 Bill had capped this at ₹10 Lakh for death and ₹5 Lakh in case of grievous injury.

New Proposed Fines Under the New Motor Vehicles Act, 2019

Fines have been raised for several traffic violations to ensure more serious consequences for breaching traffic laws. Some of these new proposed penalties include:

  • The fine for drunk driving was raised from ₹2,000 to ₹10,000 and 6 months imprisonment with repeat offences warranting a fine of ₹15,000.

  • Rash driving is now fined between ₹1,000 - ₹5,000.

  • Driving without a licence is fined ₹5,000 instead of ₹500 as earlier.

  • Juveniles will now be tried under the Juvenile Justice Act, and their guardians will be penalised with the cancellation of their registration along with a ₹25,000 fine and 3 years of imprisonment.

  • In case a manufacturer fails to comply with vehicular standards, they may face a fine of ₹500 Crore.

  • If a contractor does not abide by road design standards, they may be fined up to ₹1 Lakh.

  • Driving without insurance will now be fined ₹2,000.

  • Riding without a helmet will be fined ₹1,000 and cancellation of the offender’s licence.

  • Driving without a seat belt will be fined ₹1,000.

  • Speeding or racing is now fined ₹5,000 instead of ₹500.

  • Not giving way to emergency vehicles now warrants a fine of ₹10,000.


What are the salient features of the Motor Vehicle Act, of 1988?

The salient features of the Motor Vehicle Act, of 1988 include guidelines on provisions for permits, traffic and road safety regulations, registration guidelines for all classes of vehicles, liabilities, insurance, and penalties.

What is Section 181 MV Act?

Under Section 181 of the Motor Vehicles Act, driving without holding a valid driving licence and driving a vehicle while being a minor is punishable with imprisonment and/or a hefty fine.

What is Section 187 of the MV Act?

Section 187 of the Motor Vehicles Act regarding the punishment for offences related to an accident and outlines the fine for not complying with the police officers.

Is it mandatory to have comprehensive motor insurance under the Motor Vehicles Act, of 1988?

No. The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 only mandated a third-party insurance policy to drive legally in India. However, comprehensive motor insurance is recommended for extensive coverage.



Should I carry my vehicle documents while driving on Indian roads?

Yes. You must carry your vehicle documents while driving on Indian roads. This includes a Registration Certificate, valid insurance and driving licence, Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate, etc.

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