13/3/2020 : The Hindu Editorials Summary Notes : Mains Sure Shot
Discuss – The motor vehicles (amendment) act 2019 and its significance. Suggest reforms that will help to address its limitations.
Context – The amendments.
- Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 which amends the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.This new act has increased fine for many offences to check the road accidents and improve the road safety in the country.
Key Salient Features of the Amendment Act:
- Compulsory Insurance: The Act requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
- Compensation for Accident Victims: Increases the minimum compensation in case of death in hit and run cases from previous 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh and in case of grievous injury from previous Rs.12500 to Rs 50000.
- National Road Safety Board: Provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government. The board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.
- Registration of Vehicles: States that new vehicles should be registered at the dealer level and it will eventually remove buyers’ interface with registration authorities.
- Treatment of road accident victims: Proposes that the central government should develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour. It defines golden hour as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury.
- National Transportation Policy: Proposes a National Transportation Policy for ushering in guidelines on the transportation of goods and passengers.
- Taxi Aggregators: Calls for issuance of licenses to taxi aggregators by state. Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000. It defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or marketplaces which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services).
- Recall of Vehicles: It allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
- Good Samaritan: Good Samaritan (one who lends help to accident victim) will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim
- Penalties: Increases penalties for traffic violations.
Limitations of the Act :
- Confusion over its limitations in the states.
- Implementation through CCTVs and other equipments is essential for proper implementation of the act. But this requires huge funding and the act is silent about it.
- Implementation is difficult at the all-India level.
- For successful implementation of the act, proper surveillance is important. And India is still far behind in this field.
- Road transport is in concurrent list and states are free to enact their own laws.
Did the new law have any significance ?
- The new Motor Vehicles law does have more muscle in being able to levy stringent penalties for road rule violations.
- But this doesn’t mean that India has moved to a scientific road system marked by good engineering, sound enforcement, appropriate technology use and respect for all road users.
- The World Bank’s ‘Delivering Road Safety in India’ report says that rapid motorisation and more high-speed road infrastructure have raised the risks for road users.
- The transition to a professional road environment requires implementation of first-tier reforms.
Additional changes that should be brought to curb road accidents :
- Increasing safe and cheap public transport.
- Adoption of best practices in terms of passenger safety.
- Improving the conditions of roads.
- Building sidewalks will help to reduce accidents.
- Increase awareness about the new laws.
- Using sensors that can give real time driving suggestions to drivers, it is seen that it leads to reduction of accidents.
- It is important to save lives at any cost. Center and states must work together to implement the act. Making the law strict should be just on paper, proper implementation at the ground level is required alongwith equal support from society.
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