The Act provides for grant of licenses and permits related to motor vehicles, standards for motor vehicles, and penalties for violation of these provisions.

Compensation for road accident victims:

The Act increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases.

  • In case of death, from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees, and
  • In case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

Road Safety

  • The Act increases penalties to act as deterrent against traffic violations.
  • Stricter provisions are being proposed in respect of offences like juvenile driving, drunken driving, driving without license, dangerous driving, over-speeding, overloading etc.
  • Stricter provisions for helmets have been introduced along with provisions for electronic detection of violations.
  • Penalty regarding motor vehicles is to be increased by 10 % every year.

Cashless treatment of victims

The Act provides for a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour (time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury)

Third Party Insurance

  • The Act provides for a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance.
  • There will be a 10 time increase in insurance compensation, from
  • Rs 50, 000 to Rs 5 lakh. Claim process has been simplified.
  • Insurance firms have to pay claims within a month, if the victim’s family agree to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation.

Accident Fund

The Act requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.

Protection of Good Samaritan

The Act defines a Good Samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident, and provides rules to prevent harassment of such a person.

Vehicle Fitness

  • The Act mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles.
  • Penalty has been provided for deliberate violation of safety/environmental regulations.
  • The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes

Recall of vehicles:

  • The Act allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.
  • The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to:
  • Reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle, or
  • Replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle.

National Transportation Policy:

  • Development of integrated Transport System
  • This will also enhance the powers of the State Governments, provide better last mile connectivity, rural transport etc.

Road Safety Board:

  • The Act provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the central government through a notification.
  • The Board will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.

Taxi aggregators:

  • The Act defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services).
  • These aggregators will be issued licenses by state.
  • Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Improving Services using e-Governance

This includes

  • Provision for online driving licenses.
  • Process of Vehicle Registration
  • Drivers Training

Issues and challenges

  • There will be implementation challenges at all-India level.
  • Road transport being a subject on the Concurrent List, State governments are also free to make their own laws and rules.
  • For effective monitoring of traffic violations and accidents, electronic surveillance is essential. This could involve substantial investment, and it is not clear who will bear the cost.
  • Lack of road infrastructure, also need to be taken into account.
  • Many also raised the question of the effectiveness of making a Road Safety Board with only advisory powers, instead of making it responsible for deciding road-building standards.

Way forward

  • State governments should ensure transparency and provide a hassle-free experience for citizens at the Regional Transport Offices.
  • Vehicle manufacturers should update their technologies and adopt the best global practices regarding vehicles’ and passengers’ safety.
  • With an array of embedded sensors informing drivers of other on-road cars, onboard analytics can give them real-time driving suggestions to avoid collisions.
  • The Centre must present its National Transport Policy without delay.
  • States must be incentivized and use modern management practices to provide clean, comfortable and affordable services for all users.
  • Effective implementation is required as zero tolerance enforcement of even small fines reduces violations, while stringent penalties are either not enforced or lead to more bribery.