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

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
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.