Lok Sabha takes up Bill for hefty penalties for road accidents

New Delhi: A draft legislation to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to impose higher penalties for traffic rule violations and to protect Good Samaritans from legal harassment was taken up by the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The bill proposes hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail term for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents, and a ten-fold increase in compensation for the families of accident victims, among other things.

While moving the bill in the Lok Sabha, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said there are around five lakh accidents in India each year, and around 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents each year.

“India has the highest number of deaths in road accidents,” the Minister said.

“From driving licence to traffic rules, people have no respect or fear for law… I feel sad sometimes, India is the country where it is the easiest to get a licence,” Gadkari said.

He said around 30 per cent driving licences are “bogus”.

K.C. Venugopal of the Congress said he acknowledged the efforts of the Minister in bringing the bill with an “open mind”.

Congress leader Mallikarju Kharge also appreciated Gadkari, as he complained about lack of quorum in the Lok Sabha.

“He is performing well. He has extended roads, highways… but see the support,” Kharge said.

Trinammool Congress member Arpita Ghosh said: “We are very thankful that after 30 years a bill has been brought which was long needed.”

Biju Janata Dal member Tathagat Satpathy also lauded Gadkari.

“The public perception as well as my personal perception is that this is a Minister who is a very hard-working person,” he said.

The changes in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was approved by the Union Cabinet on March 31.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha last August and was referred to a parliamentary standing committee, whose suggestions have been endorsed by the Union Cabinet.