The BJP-led NDA government is trying to ensure that people in the country take the traffic laws meant for their own safety seriously. To make it possible, the government is pushing for tougher laws. This essentially means that gone are the days when only a petty fine and a few harsh words by the traffic cop in charge would bail you out of trouble.
According to reports, the punishments will get harsher based on the gravity of the offence. For example, causing death to a child because of rash driving or negligence may result in a sentence of seven years in prison and INR 3 lakhs in fine.
Other aspects of the new Transport and Safety Bill, 2014 will include harsher punishment for manufacturing fault in a vehicle (INR 5 lakh fine, 3 months of imprisonment); driving an unregistered vehicle (INR 1 lakh fine); and more.
The bill which is still in the draft calls for a penalty of INR 5000 to INR 12,500 for driving above speed limit. There will be also a provision under which the authorities can suspend the license of the offender for a period of up to eight weeks.
The proposed punishment for driving under influence is INR 15,000 (a stiff hike from the current INR 3000) and a jail term of up to one year. A second offence of similar nature could mean harsher punishment such as permanent suspension of license and up to two years in jail. The rules are even stricter for drivers of school buses – INR 50,000 in fine and up to three years in prison.
“The bill, after it is cleared by cabinet, will be tabled in Parliament during the winter session. The proposed changes were long due as the last time the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 was amended was in 2001, and since then many provisions related to offences and penalty have ceased to have any punitive effect,” said a ministry official, as reported by the Hindustan Times.