1. Why need for new Road act?
  2. Road Safety and Transport Bill 2014
    1. #1: setup new authorities
    2. #2: Reform License, permits and policies
    3. #3: increase Punishments
    4. #4 Graded Point System for penalties
  3. Health ministry’s suggestion on Road safety bill
  4. Mock Questions

Why need for new Road act?

Some Disturbing Facts:

  • One accident every minute and one Indian dead every four minute (From such accidents)
  • Every year, 1.38 lakh Indians die in road accidents
  • Road death rate= ~17 deaths per 1 lakh population.
  • The Social cost of those deaths ~Rs 1 Lakh Crore.
  • 63% of those deaths occur on National and State Highways.

Ya, but Why need new act?

1988: Motor Vehicle Act was made. It has outlived its utility because:

  1. Drunk drivers murder dozens yet “Taarikh pe Taarikh” and bailouts. Even if convicted, fines and jailtime too low to act as ‘deterrent’.
  2. Urban areas = too many vehicles, congested roads, heavy traffic => traffic violations.
  3. Corruption at both RTO-license and traffic police level.
  4. Lack of effective road engineering, faulty Detailed project reports (DPRs) => more accidents.
  5. Need for road safety education and training.

The old act doesn’t cover these aspects. Therefore, we need a holistic Act at par with international acts in road sectors. After the death of Ex-Union Rural Development minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident, Government finally woke up and began working towards a new Act.

Road Safety and Transport Bill 2014

  • By Road transport and highway ministry.
  • This new draft bill drafted using good practices from 6 advanced countries – USA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Germany and the UK.
  • Bill to be tabled in the Winter session of parliament.
  • let’s check its salient features

#1: setup new authorities

Two new statutory bodies:
1. Motor Vehicle Regulation & Road Safety Authority of India
  • This Independent Agency will set regulations for motor vehicle and road safety.
  • Will finance road/vehicle safety programs
  • Will be Accountable to Parliament.
2. National Road Transport & Multimodal Coordination Authority
  • To develop integrated transport systems & multi- modal hubs.
  • Will strive for feeder system and last mile connectivity.
  • Thus, it’ll also help “Make in India”, by providing seamless movement of goods and people across states and across rail-road transport modes.

#2: Reform License, permits and policies

Unified Driver Licensing System
  • Unified biometric system to avoid duplication.
  • To curb the corruption and “agent-nuisance” at RTO license offices, Government will create Automated driving test.
  • Then license exam work can be outsourced to private companies
  • Although it remains to be seen if those private license-testing companies will fall under RTI or will they also dodge RTI just like IBPS (Bank exam) and Prometric (CAT exam designer)?
Unified Vehicle Registration System
  • To Facilitate Easy transfer of vehicles across states.
  • Will make it difficult to evade taxes.
Public passenger Transport
  • Two-tier permit system : national and intrastate permit.
  • Will reduce the corruption and redtapes faced by truck transport companies.
Goods Transport & National Freight Policy
  • Will create Simplified permits and single portal clearances
  • Will Identify and develop freight networks
  • Will Indirectly reduce inflation (due to cheaper transport cost)

#3: increase Punishments

List not exhaustive and exact facts not important
Causing child death 3 lakh fine + minimum 7years
Diving under influence of drugs or desi liquor
  • Upto 50,000 fine
  • 6 months to 1 year imprisonment
  • or both
Rash driving License will be cancelled
Using vehicle in unsafe condition
  • (like that Child-bus driver in Kamal Hassan Movie “Hindustani”)
  • 1 lakh fine or 1 year jail or both
Faulty mfg. design of vehicle Company will have to pay 5 lakh fine per vehicle.
Drunk driving
  • License will be suspended for 6 months
  • 25,000 rupees fine | 3 months jail time | Or both
  • If caught again then higher fine.
Traffic signal violated 3 times
  • 15,000 fine
  • License cancelled for 1 month
  • Compulsory refresher course
Using mobile while driving
  • Fine upto 10,000.
  • License cancelled for 1 month
  • Compulsory refresher course

#4 Graded Point System for penalties

  • When you do shopping with credit card. You’re given ‘points’, later you can redeem those points for discount/gifts etc.
  • Similar concept in traffic violation, called “Graded point system”
List not exhaustive
Offense Penalty Points
  • Using vehicle in unsafe condition
  • no seat belt
2 points each
  • Using vehicles without registration
  • violating traffic signals
  • desi liquor influence
3 points each
  • Penalty points remain in your ‘account’ for 3 years.
  • If you earn total 12 points, your license will be suspended for a year.
  • If you get 12 points for second time then license will be suspended for five years.

Overall Vision of the Bill:

new Road Safety and Transport Bill 2014

  1. Reduce road accident deaths by 2 lakhs in next five years- via those hefty fines and jailtime.
  2. Improve GDP by 4% because of safe road transport
  3. Create 10 lakh new jobs (via those ‘outsourced license tests, and indirectly via GDP improvement and subsequent investment in road-transport sector).

Health ministry’s suggestion on Road safety bill

  1. long distance drivers must take “mandatory rest” during the course of their journey.
  2. “psychiatric evaluation” of heavy vehicle drivers.
  3. heavy penalty for drunk driving and use of mobile phones while driving
  4. Enforcement low beam headlights and horn related rules
  5. Drivers should be asked to pledge organ donation when they apply for license.
  6. Regular medical check-up for drivers
  7. Properly designed pedestrian crossings and speed breakers
  8. Provide ambulances along highways
  9. Don’t sell petrol unless two-wheeler driver is wearing helmats.

Criticism by Truck lobby

Truck Union did not like this bill. NOT ONE BIT. They give following reasons:

  1. Fines are too high. Will promote even more corruption. e.g. Driver will offer 1000/- to cop to let him go, instead of paying 2500 under the law. And Cop will be more willing, because 1000 rupees.
  2. Bad roads, traffic congestion and low quality vehicle-technology lead to accidents. Higher fines are not solution to accident problem, UNLESS you’re going to fix the stupid roads first.
  3. Truck industry already bleeding due to low margin and heavy costs of operation.
  4. By and large, truck drivers follow traffic rules. The main culprits are those rich-brats with BMWs- they should be made to pay heavy fines.

Mock Questions

CSAT Prelim: which of the given is a statutory body? Which of the following are the provisions under Road Safety bill 2014 -they will give you some of the good sounding “suggestions” which are not part of the bill (e.g. mandatory sleep for truckdrivers), you’ve to eliminate accordingly.

  1. Write a note on the salient features of the draft bill on Motor vehicles and suggest further amendments in it. 200 words.
  2. Discuss the need for the National Road Policy? What are the reasons for high accident deaths in India? How does the draft Motor Vehicle act address those issues? 200 words.