Huge increase in various penalties for traffic violations: India - Seeker's Thoughts

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Huge increase in various penalties for traffic violations: India


Every year the lives of approximately 1.35 million people are cut short as a result of a road traffic crash. Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability as a result of their injury.
accident


Road traffic injuries cause considerable economic losses to individuals, their families, and to nations as a whole. 


These losses arise from the cost of treatment as well as lost productivity for those killed or disabled by their injuries, and for family members who need to take time off work or school to care for injured. Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.

A little glance about past traffic

For thousands of years, mankind found ways of transporting themselves for survival. Transportation has always impacted the way humans interacted with each other. 

Also, Read


The advent of the automobile revolutionized this integration by creating new opportunities that would benefit people economically, socially, and recreationally.

As a result, it changed the world’s landscape and life. The benefits of mobility came with new risks that also changed the way of transportation. Automobiles gave individuals the power to transport themselves at unmatched spend and power.

In the early 20th century, world biggest countries began to see an increased rate of traffic deaths and injuries that caused many to express concern. Physicians, safety experts, engineers, and journalists convened to find out the cause of the accidents, injuries, and deaths that came with all of this traffic.


Cars and their use were given a fresh look, and efforts arose that would retain the right it drive a car while reducing the tragic consequences of getting behind the wheel.

It took decades to design traffic laws that would control driver behavior and increase safety features that would minimize these risk factors.
traffic-lights


In the early 1910s, traffic safety experts brainstormed ways of improving driver behavior. During this decade, there were increased instances of driver misconduct, such as speeding and reckless driving.

Drunk driving was also a big problem that resulted in multiple collisions and fatalities. Unfortunately, this became a problem for pedestrians. 

These new problems required a social responsibility for controlling the way people behaved when they got in the driver’s seat. The National Safety Council further addressed these issues during the 1920s by compiling accident statistics and holding conferences.

 They went on a mission to increase public awareness that would promote careful driving. Early efforts arose to control driver behavior through various traffic laws and traffic signals. In 1923, Garrett Morgan patented a traffic signal that stopped vehicles in both directions to change the direction of traffic flow. 

This developed into what it is commonly known as a stoplight. Municipalities also introduced strict rules and fines. They also instituted criminal punishment for severe offenses, such as drunk driving. 


Americans failed to acknowledge technological flaws until the late 1920s. Manufacturers eventually addressed design flaws that compromised the safety, such as adding four-wheel brakes and shatter-resistant windshields.
traffic-lights


New Traffic Rules and Fines List in India 2019: With 63 clauses of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, came into effect from September 1, the Centre is all set to crack the whip on some of the most common traffic violations across the country.

The new rule proposes huge increases in various penalties for traffic violations, the Indian government has made various changes in the traffic rules, and some new sections have been added. 

According to the Delhi traffic chief, the changes that are to be made have been communicated to the traffic staff are ground level and are expected to further deter the erring driver from flouting norms.

However, many Indians are not happy with a sharp increase in traffic fine, the government hopes to bring order to the country’s chaotic roads with a tenfold increase in fines for more serious offenses to between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1 lakh.

They come as economic growth has slumped to a six-year low, and government data show a slowdown in the growth of Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections, raising the prospect that PM Modi’s government will miss its fiscal deficit target this year.

The size of the fines is particularly concerning because India’s per capita monthly income is only Rs 10,500.

On the other side to officials stated the heavy fines are needed to improve safety in a country where more than one lakh people are killed nearly 5 lakh injured every year in road accidents.
accident-data-in-india
New rules

Driving under the influence of alcohol not giving way to ambulances or fire brigade will attract a penalty of Rs 10,000 or imprisonment. In some cases, an individual violating rules could end up paying the fine and going to jail.

If two-wheelers owners are caught riding without helmets, they will not only have to pay fine of Rs 1,000 but could have their licenses suspended for the next three months.

Penalties have been increased under the law to make people more aware of road safety; earlier people would bribe their way after violating rules as the penalties were low compared to the fresh amendment.
                                           



India’s traffic fines compared with other countries like the US and UK

One variable that can be considered is as follows. In Germany, if the blood alcohol level is registered at 1.1 mg/ml, it’s a criminal offense and one is taken to court. 

For those who are 21 years old and has had a driver’s license for at least 2 years, legal alcohol limit of 0.5 mg/ml. Those under 21 have a legal limit of 0.0 mg/ml.

Legal alcohol limit in the US and UK are the same. BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 grams per decilitre of blood (g/dL) or higher1 – is the same as UK’s legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Utah’s BAC limit was revised in December 2018 to.


In India, blood alcohol limit tolerated is .03%, which is 30mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The law calls for imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs 10,000 for the first offense, and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs 15000 for the second offense.
accident-data-in-india

In the UK, you may get 3 months’ imprisonment a fine of up to £2,500, and a possible driving ban if you’re in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink. 

If you’re found driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink, you may get 6 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years).


In Germany, fines range from € 500 to € 1500. Long driving bans are imposed, and points struck off your driving license. The infomercial lists drunk driving fine in Germany as Rs 1, 18,359. This, however, is the capped rate.

Hong Kong’s maximum blood alcohol level (BAL) is 55 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or 0.22 mg alcohol per liter breath alcohol content (BrAC). Fines for drivers found impaired is as follows – Maximum fine of HK$25,000 and imprisonment for 3 years. 

Disqualification from driving for not less than 3 months on the first conviction, and not less than 2 years on second or subsequent conviction along with 10 driving offense points.

Even speed limits for countries vary. IN UK, cars, and motorcycles (including car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes max laden weight) have to adhere to a minimum speed limit of 48 mph and a max limit of 113 kmph. The USA has varying limits across states.

In Japan, driving without a driver’s license is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding 300,000 yen. The infomercial lists this as Rs 2, 03,134, which is, in fact, the cap.





The infomercial again uses the maximum penalty of Rs 2, 29,378 as against the bare minimum when it comes to listing drunk driving charges in India. India also holds the dubious record of most road fatalities. This almost 1.49 lakh in 2018. A developing nation, the government has set a target to construct 7,000-km roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMSY) during 2019-20 at a budget of Rs 3,936.04

Now the question is would higher traffic fines lead to safer driving in India?

Without a doubt, India’s track record in road safety is very poor. There are 16 fatalities every hour and 1 fatality every 4 minutes due to road accidents in India. Disregarding road safety laws because of lower fines is the biggest reason for road accidents in India.

According to government data, in the year 2015, India recorded the highest numbers of accidents in the world. This nearly tenfold increases since 1970. A major reason for India’s poor record in road safety is the absurdly low fines imposed for traffic violations and abuse of motor vehicle regulations.

Take in the instance of the fine levied on driving without a seat belt – in Delhi, it is hardly, Rs 100.

According to the special commissioner of traffic, Delhi police, in 2016, about 2, 32,813 challans were done for people driving without a seat belt in Delhi, this figure absolutely communicates the scenario that the fine of Rs. 100 for people is nothing.

Violators will continue to disobey rules.



Clearly, the fines levied don’t work very well as a deterrent. The UK has one of the best road safety records in the world, here’s a look at what this country has successfully to bring their accidents rates.

                                


 What experts say?
One of the major points in the pending Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 is a higher penalty system for making roads safer in India. 

The bill proposes to increase the penalties for several offenses like the minimum fine for drink driving has been increased from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000 and for rash driving, it has been increased from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000. Moreover, for people who will drive without a seat belt, the fine is Rs. 1,000 against the current fine of Rs. 100.

 The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 got the go-ahead from the cabinet and was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on August 2016. However, since then the Bill is pending for a review with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Culture.

Saji Cherian, Director of Operations from SaveLIFE Foundation reacted by saying, the existing legislation is inadequate. 

Passing the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 is the first step to creating a legal framework for road safety in India. 

Penalties are being rationalized keeping in mind the inflation, a unified licensing system is being looked at in the bill. Therefore it is a much-needed move to be taken by India.

Conclusion

However, not everyone agrees that higher penalties might lead to safer roads. In the current scenario when the Indian economy is already going down. Sharp fines won’t work, as people are not deterred by it. The need is to create respect for the rules and regulation, and people who commit traffic offenses should be criminalized. Undoubtedly, the effectiveness of penalties is debatable and only time can tell how much traction increased fines in the bill will find on the ground. While the bill is a move in the right direction, the biggest task will be its enforcement.


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