Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 Passed
- On 9th August, 2019, the President gave assent to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019, in an attempt to regulate and improve road safety across the country.
- The new act replaces the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
- It aims to make Indian roads safer, reduce corruption and use technology to overhaul the country's transportation system.
Need for the Amendment:
- According to the road transport and highways ministry,maximum road accidents in the world occurred in India. Nearly half a million accidents are reported in India every year resulting in loss of precious lives.
Salient Features of the Act:
- It is an effort to overhaul the country’s transportation laws by addressing crucial issues such as road safety, reducing deaths due to road accidents, imposing stiffer penalties on violation of rules, and weeding out corruption, thereby transforming India’s road transport system.
- It will help the government to meet its international commitments under the Brasilia Declaration of 2015(under which the government intends to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020)and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.6).
Hurdles to Road Safety in India:
- Civilians Irresponsibility and Negligence Attitude:Its only human factor that contribute significantly to increasing number of road accidents in India. Drunken driving is one of the major reasons causing road traffic accidents largely among commercial vehicle drivers on highways. Reckless, over speeding, absence of seats belts, use of mobile phone increases the chance of fatal injuries for car occupants from near zero to almost 100%.
- Awful Condition of Roads:Another reason for road accidents in India is pathetic conditions of the road. Most of them have potholes, without road signs or under construction for a long period. All these lead to road accidents. Roads are built without giving much consideration to its functionality.
- Vehicle Design below International Standard:Indian vehicles design as well as safety normsdo not match up to the International Standards, leading to increasing number of road related casualties.
- Improper Implementation of Road Safety Standards:Mostly Indian road are not well informed with the markings and signals.Most of the primary and secondary traffic signals are either not functioning as per the prescribed standards or wrongly installed. Road barriers and other related equipments are seen dwindling here and there on the roads. According to a study by Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) in Delhi, about 75% of road signs did not meet requirements under the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) Code and the insertion of a regulatory or warning sign with another colour board
- Lack of Emergency Services:Indian roads lack any provision for emergency services. In case of an accident there is no provision for first aid treatment near the intersections. Victims have to cost their lives as due to unavailability of doctors and hospitals nearby.
Government Initiatives Towards Road Safety
National Road Safety Policy(2017)
National Road safety Council
4 ‘E’s Strategy:
30th National Road Safety Week(4th – 10th February-2019):
National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme:
Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, 2015
- Road safety is an issue that requires a multi-pronged solution. Recognition of road safety as the joint responsibilityof decision makers and road users, coupled with political action and legislative reform at all levels of government will be essential to bring about long-term improvement.
- Such changes, accompanied by increased participation from the civil society and private players can push India to achieve its target of 50 percent reduction in road traffic fatalities in the foreseeable future.
- Time is ripe to rethink our strategies to overcomechallenges and focus on creating a road safety revolutionin the country. There is a need for political commitmentlike ‘Swacch Bharat’ to ensure this road safety revolutiontowards a ‘Suraksha Bharat’.