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Traffic offenders face heftier fines, jail term

The Cabinet has approved new rules under which drunken driving will attract a fine ranging from Rs 2,000 to 10,000.

Published: 01st March 2012 03:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:26 PM   |  A+A-

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File photo: PTI

NEW DELHI: Drunken driving, jumping red light, over-speeding and use of mobile phones behind the wheels among other traffic offences will henceforth attract higher fine and jail term under new rules approved by the Union Cabinet today.

The increase in penalties is up to five times for the traffic violations under the proposed amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act likely to be introduced in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament.

In a bid to tighten the noose around habitual traffic offenders, the Cabinet cleared the manifold increase in penalties by approving the changes to be incorporated in the amendment which also envisages substantial hike in compensation to accident victims.

Dangerous driving, non-use of seat belts as well as driving without helmets for two-wheelers will also attract higher punishment.

"The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act for harsher punishments for offences like drunken driving and violation of traffic rules and also increased compensation in accident cases," an official said.

He said the amendments are proposed mainly to deal with offenders who violate traffic rules repeatedly.

"The amendment will act as a deterrent," Delhi Police's Joint Commissioner(Traffic) Satyendra Garg said.

In case of drunken driving, the increased fine will range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 and imprisonment from six months to four years.

Besides increasing the fine for using mobile phones while driving to Rs 500 for first offence and Rs 2,000-5,000 for subsequent instances, it is also proposed to provide clear definition of such instruments.

"Mobile phone is any application which can receive and transmit voice, text and picture...," as per the proposal.

It means that not only talking on phone but sending text messages and using hands free instruments for using mobile phone would be considered an offence.

Under one of the proposed amendments, the government has cleared four-fold increase in compensation to Rs 1 lakh in fatal accidents, and Rs 50,000 for grievous hurt in hit and run cases.

In case of drunken driving, the increased fine will range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 and imprisonment from six months to four years.

Giving details of the proposed fine on drunken driving, the official said in cases where alcohol level is 30 mg per 100 ml of blood, it would not amount to an offence.

However, if it is between 30-60 mg per 100 ml of blood, the proposed penalty would be six months of imprisonment and/or Rs 2,000 fine.

In case the alcohol level is 60-150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty would be one year imprisonment and/or Rs 4,000. If the offence is repeated within three years, the penalty would go up to three years imprisonment and/or Rs 8,000.

For those who are found heavily drunk with alcohol levels of over 150 mg per 100 ml of blood, the penalty will be two years imprisonment and or Rs 5,000. Repeat offence within three years will attract a penalty of four years and fine of Rs 10,000 besides cancellation of licence.

In case a person is found driving under the influence of narcotic substances, he could be liable for six months imprisonment and/or fine of up to Rs 5,000. For repeat offences, the fine could go up to Rs 10,000 along with six month imprisonment and cancellation of licence.

Although the government has approved hike in the quantum of fine for repeat offences for those found driving under the influence of narcotic substances, the maximum has been reduced from existing two year to six months.

The fine for jumping the red light, is also proposed to be increased from Rs 100 to Rs 100-500 for first offence and from Rs 300 to Rs 300-1,500.

For over-speeding, it has been proposed to increase the fine from Rs 400 to Rs 400-1,000 for first offence, and from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000-5,000 for the second.

For dangerous driving, the fine has been raised to Rs 2,000-5,000 and/or imprisonment of 2 years in case of second offence. However, there is no change in the penalty for the first offence which is six months imprisonment and or fine of Rs 1,000.

Noting that there are 1.4 million pending cases relating to third party insurance claims at different tribunals and courts, it has also been proposed to rationalise the formula for tabulating compensation for road accident victims under third party insurance.

The amendment also proposes to provide more powers to states to limit and regulate contract carriage on city routes with prior permission of the Centre.

It also proposed delegating more powers to states for issuing driving licences, registration cards, fitness certificates, grant of permits and disposal of appeals.

A time line for issuing of licenses, registration cards, permits and fitness certificates is also proposed to be fixed.



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