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Date : Nov 29, 2021

Description :

Based on a News Article published in the ‘The Hindu’ on 29th November 2021 on Page Number 12


Useful for UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains (GS Paper I & II)





  • Every year, more than five lakh traffic accidents occur in India, resulting in 1.5 lakh deaths. According to the Union Transport Minister, if the provisions of this Bill are followed, this might be cut in half.
  • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is based on the suggestions of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of States, which was established by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to address the issue of road safety and increase citizens' access to transportation departments.
  • The Bill's changes primarily address road safety, citizen convenience when dealing with the transportation department, rural transportation, last-mile connectivity and public transportation, automation and computerization, and enabling online services.





The Bill's Highlights:


  • Increased penalties for traffic offences are proposed in the bill to act as a deterrence.
  • Compensation for road accident victims: During the golden hour, road accident victims receive cashless treatment (first 1 hour after accident). The minimum compensation for death or serious injury caused by a hit-and-run has been increased to 2 lakh and 50,000 rupees, respectively.
  • The Bill establishes a National Road Safety Board, which will be established by the central government through a notification. On all elements of road safety and traffic management, the Board will advise the federal and state governments.
  • Good Samaritan Rules: To assist traffic accident victims, the Bill includes Good Samaritan guidelines. They will not be held accountable in any civil or criminal action for any harm or death caused by their failure to provide help to an accident victim.
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund: The bill mandates that the central government establish a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide mandatory insurance coverage to all Indian road users.
  • Third-party insurance terms are more favourable, with no limit on insurer responsibility and faster claim processing.
  • Vehicle fitness testing will be automated, and driving examinations will be computerised, to decrease the opportunity for manipulation and corruption in transportation departments. In addition, the commercial driver training procedure will be enhanced, and more training institutions will be established.
  • Vehicle recalls: The bill authorises the federal government to mandate vehicle recalls if a problem in the vehicle poses a risk to the environment, the driver, or other road users.
  • National Transportation Policy: The federal government, in conjunction with state governments, may design a national transportation policy.
  • Taxi aggregators: Aggregators are defined in the bill as digital intermediaries or market places that passengers might utilise to connect with a driver for transportation (taxi services). The states will provide licences to these aggregators. They must also follow the Information Technology Act of 2000.





Problems and obstacles:


  • At the national level, there will be implementation issues.
  • Because road transportation is on the Concurrent List, state governments are free to enact their own laws and regulations. Some states believe the amendment violates their constitutional rights.
  • Electronic surveillance, which requires the installation of CCTVs, speed guns, and other equipment, is necessary for effective monitoring of traffic offences and accidents and ensuring that the culprits do not get away with it.
  • This could require a significant investment, and it is unclear who will foot the bill.
  • Vehicle manufacturers' laxity in implementing safety features is also a source of worry.


India's Road Safety Initiatives:


  • Previously, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways took a number of efforts to improve road safety:
  • The National Road Safety Policy specifies a number of policy actions, including raising awareness, creating a road safety information database, encouraging safer road infrastructure, including the use of intelligent transportation, and enforcing safety rules.
  • The National Road Safety Council serves as the apex organisation for making road safety policy decisions.
  • A dashboard for road accident statistics has been developed, via which consumers can obtain related data and other information on a state-by-state basis as well as national averages.
  • The comic books Swachha Safar and Surakshit Yatra were released with the goal of raising road safety awareness among children.
  • To combat malpractices in issuing licences and car registration, the VAHAN (an ICT-based solution for vehicle registration) and SARATHI (for licencing) apps have been developed.
  • By 2019, the Setu Bharatam programme aims to eliminate all railway crossings on national highways.
  • Model of integrated data-driven road safety measures in Tamil Nadu: The Supreme Court-appointed three-member road safety committee, chaired by Justice (retd) KS Radhakrishnan, lauded Tamil Nadu's efforts to reduce road accident fatalities.
  • According to NCRB data, road accident mortality in Tennessee decreased by 24.39 percent in 2018, the largest decline in the US.


Path forward:


  • Strict and effective implementation of the modified requirements in the Motor Vehicle Act will undoubtedly help India reduce the number of people killed in traffic accidents.
  • The federal and state governments should develop detailed plans for enforcing the restrictions.
  • At Regional Transport Offices, state governments should maintain openness and provide a hassle-free experience for citizens.
  • Vehicle manufacturers should upgrade their technologies and follow worldwide best practises in terms of vehicle and passenger safety.
  • Simultaneously, the rise of Internet of Things-enabled, connected automobiles in India, which multinational automakers are currently significantly investing in, can provide road safety a digital edge. Onboard analytics can give drivers real-time driving tips to avoid collisions, thanks to an array of embedded sensors informing drivers of other on-road vehicles.
  • Another link in the route to safer roads is the remarkable rate of building and infrastructure upgrading.

Tags : traffic rules, ministry of transport

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