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5 things you should know about the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2019

The Lok Sabha recently passed the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill. The Act supervises the granting of licenses to vehicles, vehicle norms and fines for any infringement of provisions under the Act and has garnered mixed reactions from the people.

Here are 5 things that you, as a citizen, should know.

1. Mandatory Insurance Coverage: The amended bill calls for the government to create a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide obligatory protection cover to any individual who uses Indian roads. The fund can be used for:

a. Compensation to the representatives of a deceased hit and run victim

b. Compensation to anyone who has been grievously injured in a hit and run incident

c. Compensation to anyone as prescribed by the Central government

d. Treatment of anyone injured in road mishaps according to the golden hour program

2. Fines and offences: The new bill has increased fines for several motor vehicle offences under the Act. The maximum fine if a car/two-wheeler manufacturer fails to comply with the standard vehicle norms has been increased to Rs. 100 crore or imprisonment up to one year or both. The maximum fine for driving under the influence has jumped from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000, and the fine if a contractor fails to maintain the road construction standards could be as high as Rs. 1,00,000. There is also a possibility of the fines increasing every year by up to 10% under the Act.

3. Compensation for victims: Under the new rules, the government will develop a scheme that will help road accident victims get cashless treatment during the golden hour. Golden hour is defined in the bill as the duration of up to one hour following a grave and severe injury, during which the likelihood of keeping someone from dying through immediate medical care is the highest. The government may also come up with a scheme under which interim relief will be provided to applicants who are seeking recompense under any third-party insurance. The new Bill has increased the minimum recompense for hit-and-run accident cases as follows:

a) In case of severe or grave injury, it has increased from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

b) In case of death, from Rs 25,000 to Rs. 2,00,000

4. Good Citizens: The bill has defined a good Samaritan/Citizen as any person who provides crucial emergency assistance to a victim at the place of the mishap. The assistance must be voluntary and should have been carried out in good faith without any reward or expectation of the same. This Samaritan cannot be held liable for any civil or criminal liability for injury or death of the victim which might have been caused due to their negligence while assisting the victim.

5. Mass recall of vehicles: According to the new Bill, The government is allowed to recall motor vehicles if a manufacturing defect that causes harm to the environment, the driver or other road users is detected. The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to recompense the buyers the full cost of the vehicle or substitute/replace the defective model with another vehicle having the same or better specifications.

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