oppn parties MV Act Amendment: What About Hawkers and Pedestrians?

News Snippets

  • The Army conducts an operational alert exercise in eastern Ladakh
  • The IAF reopened the Vijaynagar advance landing ground, an airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
  • Amit Shah says he never sought to impose Hindi
  • Government bans the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in India
  • Mamata Banerjee seeks an appointment with Home Minister Amit Shah today
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi in what she later described as a government-to-government meeting
  • Supreme Court sets a deadline of October 18 for completing the hearings in the Ayodhya case
  • Pakistan rejects India's request for use of its airspace when PM Modi flies to the US later this week
  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
MV Act Amendment: What About Hawkers and Pedestrians?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Lok Sabha has finally passed the long overdue Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill that provides for, among other reforms, hefty increases in fines for violating driving laws. It has increased the penalty for driving with a disqualified licence from Rs 500 to Rs 10000 and without a licence to Rs 5000 from Rs 500. The fine for drunken driving is put at between Rs 10000-15000. While this will deter people not qualified to drive or drunks to resist the temptation of taking the wheels, if not implemented honestly, it also has the potential of increasing the incomes of corrupt traffic cops. Previously, they used to let a person go on committing a traffic offence by taking Rs 100 or Rs 200. With fines now increased substantially, the rate on the corruption index will shoot up. Hence, more than hefty fines, what we need are honest cops who care more for lives than their own pockets.

The best part of the amendment is that for the first time, a car owner is sought to be held liable if an under-aged person causes a fatal accident while driving his vehicle. The car owner can be put behind bars for three years if that happens. Parents feel proud to say that their young wards can drive without realizing that controlling a car at a young age can be difficult, especially when under age drivers take an instant liking to speeding. Also, the fine for hit-and-run cases is being increased to Rs 200000 and for fatal accidents to Rs 1000000. Other good features are the creation of compulsory insurance cover to all road users for certain kinds of accidents and protection of Good Samaritans who help accident victims.

But amending the Motor Vehicles act is not the thing that is going to solve the endemic and myriad problems being witnessed on Indian roads. For instance, the footpaths in all major cities and towns are fully occupied by hawkers, forcing pedestrians to walk on the roads. It is a miracle that despite this, motorists prevent accidents. There is no discipline and public transport operators - three-wheeled autos being the worst offenders – rule the roads as if they own them. Pedestrians also make things difficult for drivers by jaywalking and not crossing from zebra crossings. Hence, penalizing drivers alone cannot bring sanity on Indian roads.