In future, if you commit a driving-related offence, you may have to shell out a fine up to five times more than the penalty now.
In a bid to curb the rising number of road accidents, a Bill proposing amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is likely to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the coming budget session.
The provisions for traffic violations have been made stringent to prevent accidents, Road Transport and Highways Minister C.P. Joshi said, after the Cabinet approved the amendments. He, however, said the changes were unlikely to effect a sharp fall in the number of accidents.
This is the second time the Bill is being introduced in the Rajya Sabha, where a previous effort was made in in 2007.
The only new offence included to the old list is use of mobile phones or any appliance enabled with transmission or reception of signals by way of wire or other electromagnetic mission. Using these will attract a fine of Rs. 500 for the first offence, and Rs. 2,000 subsequently, the maximum being Rs. 5,000. The smart card driving licence will enable recording of the offences.
Another experiment is introduction of the concept of minimum and maximum fines for varying degrees of the offence. This will, however, give room for misuse of power to save some offenders, the police being the arbiter, it is feared.
In a bid to prevent cases piling up for arbitration, the proposed amendment makes it compulsory for filing a case within one year of the day of accident to claim insurance or compensation. Now the number of cases pending disposal is 14 lakh.
The first offence of any nature will invite a fine of Rs. 500, up from Rs. 100. For subsequent offences, it will be Rs. 1,500. The punishment for allowing unauthorised persons to drive vehicles has been retained at imprisonment for up to three months or a fine which has been doubled to Rs. 2,000.
Driving at excessive speed will invite a penalty of Rs. 1,000 if the maximum speed exceeds by up to 10 km per hour, and Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 5,000 if the speed limits exceed by 25 km and over 25 km per hour.
Dangerous driving will entail imprisonment for six months or a fine of Rs. 1,000, or both, for the first offence. Subsequent offences will mean two-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 2,000, the maximum being Rs. 5,000.
Drunken driving has been classified on the basis of the influence of alcohol and narcotic substances. If the presence of alcohol is more than than 30 mg but less than 60 mg per 100 ml in blood, the punishment will be six months' imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 2,000 or both. A subsequent offence will invite six months' imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 6,000. If it is more than 60 mg, the punishment will be imprisonment for one year or a fine of Rs. 4,000 for the first offence. For a subsequent offence under this category, it will be imprisonment for three years or Rs. 8,000 as fine.
Alcohol exceeding 150 mg per 100 ml will invite imprisonment for two years or a fine of Rs. 5000 and a second offence could lead to four years' imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 10,000. The driving licence could also be cancelled on conviction for the second or subsequent offence.
The punishment for driving under the influence of narcotic substances is six months' imprisonment or a fine of Rs. 5,000 and a subsequent contravention will also invite six months in jail, which in fact is less than the prevailing punishment of two-year imprisonment, or a fine of Rs. 1,000 and cancellation of the driving licence.
Driving when one is mentally or physically unfit will attract a fine of Rs. 500 on the first count, and subsequent offences will mean a fine of Rs. 1,000.
Using vehicles without registration will invite a fine of Rs. 4,000 for the first time and subsequently it will be Rs. 10,000 or imprisonment up to one year.
Commercial vehicles plying without permit will have to pay a fine of at least Rs. 4,000. Subsequent offences will invite a penalty of Rs. 10,000 or imprisonment up to one year.