Does the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 Provide Useful Amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988?

Q. Does the Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 Provide Useful Amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988?

1. Need For Better Road Safety Legislation?

- Close to 2 lakh lives can be saved in first 5 years due to better legislation according to estimates

- Around 10 lakh jobs can be created with rise in investment in this sector

- Increased efficiency of the road transport sector can enhance GDP by 4%

2. How The Road Transport and Safety Bill Improves This Sector

Motor Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India

- The bill envisages a Motor Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India. This has the following benefits:

- Independent regulatory authority for monitoring road safety in India

- legally empowered agency which is completely functional and answerable to the public and Parliament

- Detailed financing mechanism for initiating and funding safety programs

Time Bound Approval Mechanism for Vehicles

- The bill also puts forth an approval mechanism for vehicles which is time bound and aimed at promoting innovation. This will:

- promote innovation and adoption of low cost, new technologies

- provide lead time for new industries to adopt to standards

- improve vehicular design for better safety mechanisms

Unified Driver Licensing System

The bill proposed a transparent, single window system for getting a driver’s license. This will:

- lead to the creation of an automated driving license test

- Enhance the contribution of the private sector in the process through use of automation technology

- Formulate a unique biometric system for establishing the license which will prevent duplication

- Promote the use of up to date technology for driver testing

Unified Registration Vehicle System

Integration of all stakeholders will also be promoted by this bill which has emphasised private participation and fitness testing for job creation, thereby enhancing:

- unified registration in dynamic information system

- unified ecosystem comprising manufacturer, owner, enforcement agency etc

- Fitness certification centres established by the private sector

Road Safety and Traffic Management

- Increased emphasis on vulnerable road users such as women and children

- special emphasis on electronic enforcement of road safety laws in clustered urban areas

- promotion of latest technologies for modern safety

- Motor Accident Fund for immediate relief to victims

National Road Transport and Multimodal Coordination Authority

The bill envisages seamless transport of goods and services in line with Make in India vision.

It is a:

- single national authority for improving road transport and safety record

- development of integrated transport and multimodal hubs

- last mile connectivity

- feeder system

Public Passenger Transport

The bill also promotes eco-friendly transportation and cost effectiveness apart from efficiency.It aims at:

- Increasing share of public transportation system

- Iromoting two tier permit system

- Regulating public transport

Goods Transport and National Freight Policy

The bill is aimed at improving logistics efficiency to make Indian manufacturing internationally competitive. It works for:

- simplified permits and single portal clearances

- Identification plus development of freight networks

- Resolving bottlenecks in the freight industry

Infrastructural and Multimodal Facilitation

This will work for multimodal integration, improving safety and lowering the cost of transportation by:

- Infrastructure for efficient passenger and goods movement

- Specific infrastructure for road users who are vulnerable such as women, children and elderly

- Integration across numerous modes of transport

Strict Offences and Penalties

Graded penalty system with enhanced fines for reducing traffic accidents and preventing road rage. These include:

- penalty and fines to enforce traffic rules

- deterrents for driving under influence of drugs or alcohol

- electronic detection of offences and centralised system of maintaining records for offences

This Bill has 15 chapters and it was introduced for wider consultation in September 2013. It will be introduced in February for approval. The President of India signed the amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act permitting the plying of e-rickshaws in the NCR.

The Motor Vehicles Act: A Critical Appraisal

The Motor Vehicles Act was introduced in the year 1988 to replace the earlier British legislation of 1939.

This Act has the following drawbacks:

- it does not envisage rules for enforcement of road safety in India

- vulnerable road users such as women, children, elderly as well as cyclists and pedestrians are completely ignored by the Act.

- The act is only focused on regulation of motorised transport

- the act does not consider problems such as freight logistics and improvement of road safety infrastructure across the nation

- Act ignores the need for a centralised regulatory authority and electronic monitoring of offences

- The Act also does not take technologies or road safety into account in a comprehensive way

- the Act is archaic and close to 1.4 lakh people die in India every year due to road accidents

- there has been a 280% increase in the number of accidents since the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 was introduced

- It does not create any rules regarding manufacturing safety standards and recall of defective vehicles

- the motto of this act is cure rather than prevention and this is why it fails

- the act does not envisage a lead regulatory authority which is independent

- it does not promote a biometric system of identification or take any steps to prevent duplication.


The Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014 will go a long way towards promoting road safety legislation and be a game changer in the field of road regulation and monitoring.
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