Hefty fines from now for road rule violations in Puducherry

On-the-spot penalty: Ashok Kumar, Transport Secretary, and officials explaining amendments made to the Motor Vehicles Act on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Brace yourself to shell out hefty fines for road rule violations as Puducherry has joined the list of States/Union Territories to amend provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, in line with changes in the Central Act that took effect in 2019.

The changes have substantially hiked the penalty for various offences as well as authorised a larger pool of officers to slap on-the-spot fines.

Following the approval of the Lt. Governor, the Transport Department on Thursday notified the new provisions that allow officers of the Police, Transport and Revenue Departments to impose spot fines for “compoundable offences” that do not require adjudication of the courts.

“The basic principle behind these amendments is to enhance public safety and cut down on traffic accidents,” Transport Secretary Ashok Kumar told a press conference.

The G.O. lists 73 types of compoundable offences that attract spot fines. The fine amounts have also been hiked in the range of 100% to 10-fold increase over existing rates. The operative sections and sub-sections under which the offences will be charged are from 177 to 198.

The fine for many compoundable offences has gone up from the existing penalty of ₹100 to ₹1,000, such as riding without a helmet, which will now attract a spot fine of ₹1,000 under Section 194 D and disqualification from holding licence for three months for first offence with a similar penalty for the second/subsequent offences, triple riding, driving dangerously/use of handheld communication devices and not wearing seat belts in car.

The fine for driving without licence has been hiked from ₹500 to ₹5,000 while racing is penalised with a fine of ₹5,000 first time and ₹10,000 for subsequent offences.

Failure to allow free passage to emergency vehicles (Fire/Ambulances) attract a fine of ₹10,000 for first and subsequent offences. Excess fare by auto/taxi/stage carriers remit a fine of ₹200 for first offence and ₹500 for second and subsequent offences. The steepest penalty is ₹1 lakh for trading of any automobile part notified as a critical safety component.

Violators who do not pay the fines will have their vehicles and documents confiscated. “The crux of the amendments is to classify offences as compoundable that can be tackled with spot penalties and non-compoundable offences, such as drunk driving or signal jumping, that would be referred to a court,” said A. S. Sivakumar, Transport Commissioner. “An estimated 80% of the average of 100 accident deaths in Puducherry every year are occurring because of riders not wearing helmets. We hope the revised fines would serve as a deterrent,” said Anand Mohan, ADGP.

Rahul Alwal, SP, added that at least 60% of the fatal accidents were caused by overspeeding. The Police Department has conducted a spatial-temporal study that mapped about 62 accident hotspots in Puducherry.

The Transport Commissioner said it was proposed to migrate the penal process to an online platform with the NIC software soon. Personnel of the three enforcement departments have been updated on the amendments and trained.

The number of e-challan devices would also be increased from the 16 available now. “We are working towards enabling e-payment options for fine remittance shortly as it requires back-end linking with banks,” Mr. Sivakumar said. The public would be sensitised on these changes during the ongoing Road Safety Month celebrations, officials said.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 7:59:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/hefty-fines-from-now-for-road-rule-violations-in-puducherry/article33688621.ece

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