THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fearing backlash from people, the state government has decided to reduce the fines for various traffic violations under the newly-passed Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. A notification in this regard will be issued on Monday.
“The Centre will issue a fresh order allowing states to reduce the fines following which the state government will bring out a notification. We did not announce any relaxation in fines earlier owing to the absence of a clear directive from the Centre,” Transport Minister A K Saseendran told Express.
He said the state government is planning to make minor adjustments to the fine amounts as most of the complaints had been regarding the heavy fines.
“The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) will not charge heavy fines from people violating traffic rules in the interim period, before the government issues the notification reducing the amounts. Instead, MVD officers will create awareness among motorists on road safety,” he said.
Though the state government had supported the law when it came into effect from September 1, it relaxed its stand following protests by people. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had also termed the law ‘unscientific’. While Gujarat and Karnataka have already announced drastic cuts in the fine amounts, states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have said they would not implement the new Act.
Sources said riding without helmets or driving without seat belts would attract Rs 500 in fine, instead of the Rs 1,000 fixed in the new Act. The fine for driving without a valid licence would be reduced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 3,000. Relaxation on fine amounts for overloading, permit violation and the like is also on the cards, said a source. However, the government is likely to retain the Rs 10,000 fine amount fixed in the new Act for drink driving. Earlier, it was Rs 2,000.