New Delhi: The government Monday said it expects the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill which proposes hefty penalty for traffic rule violations, including drunken driving, to be passed in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament.
"We expect the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill to be passed in the next session of Parliament with support of all political parties. The Bill has already been passed by Rajya Sabha and and the parliamentary standing committee, too, has approved it," Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi told PTI.
Joshi said once the amendment is passed, number of accidents would be minimised as the proposed law has stringent provisions for violators of traffic rules including higher penalty for repeated offenders.
Once the proposed amendment is passed, traffic rule violators will have to cough up hefty penalties - almost 10 times more than what they pay now - for offences such as overspeeding and drunken driving.
The Rajya Sabha in May had passed the Bill, which seeks to raise compensation for death resulting from a hit and run accident to Rs one lakh and Rs 50,000 for the injured in such incidents.
Framed in 1988, several provisions of the bill - especially those related to penalties for violations - have become completely ineffective in checking road accidents. The last time the MV Act was amended was in 2001.
The present bill provides that rash driving is likely to attract a civil liability of up to Rs 5,000 in addition to punishment under the Indian Penal Code.
Drunk driving will attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 and a two-year jail term.
Earlier, addressing the valedictory function of the Road Safety Week, Joshi expressed concern over the rising number of road accidents, which kill more than one lakh people in the country every year.
Calling for immediate safety measures to curb the menace, including safe road design and awareness campaigns, Joshi said over one lakh persons get killed and more than 4.5 lakh persons are injured in the country every year in road accidents underlining the magnitude of the problem.
Joshi said vulnerable road users constitute up to 80 percent of the total traffic fatalities in the country and this calls for awareness measures, especially for pedestrians and school children.
"One-third of the road accident casualties related to people in the age group of 15 to 19 years," he said stressing the need to create awareness about the drive "Stay Alive - Don't Drink and Drive".
He said the government was working on a scheme of providing cashless treatment to the victims of road accidents.
Joshi said his Ministry will soon be using information technology and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter seeking active participation of road users.
To take the road safety message far and wide, the Ministry also intends to reach out to 30 lakh elected Panchayati Raj representatives in their local languages, he said.
Secretary Road Transport A K Upadhyay said the Ministry has launched mitigation measures in 13 states where 325 black spots on roads have been identified that account for 90 percent road accidents.
Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Satyendra Garg said due to special drive launched by traffic police, accidents were minimised during the last year.
The 24th road safety week was observed from 1st January to 7th January 2013.
Awards were also distributed to various agencies for adherence of traffic norms. State Transport Haryana got the Rs 1.5 lakh award and trophy in the Mofussil category for 2009-10 while Himachal Road Transport Corporation was the winner in hill state category.
For urban services, Delhi Transport Corporation was awarded with the first prize.
For 2010-11 and 2011-12, the awards under various categories went to Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Punjab State Bus Stand Management Company, Uttarakhand Transport Corporation, DTC.
First Published: Monday, January 7, 2013, 22:42