Motor Vehicles Act: Three-year jail term for parents if children caught driving and other changes


The Lok Sabha recently passed a draft legislation in Parliament to make changes to the existing Motor Vehicles Act, thereby making it easier for the innocent Good Samaritans of society to avoid all sorts of legal harassment that may arise from being questioned by traffic authorities. This bill also imposes stricter penalties on the violations of traffic rules, such as a three-year jail term for parents if their minor children are caught driving vehicles and a tenfold increase in compensation for the victims of accidents and their families.

Representational image; Source- Youtube

This bill was initially introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 9 last year. After the changes, there are now 16 amendments, and three suggestions by the Parliament Standing Committee were rejected. Further, the bill shall be passed on to the Rajya Sabha and then the President for approval.

As per a report by India Today, some highlights from the bill are:

  1. This bill amends the 1988 Motor Vehicles Act in a way that it caters to things like third party insurance, the regulation of taxi aggregators, and road safety.
  2. Under the Act, the liability of the third party insurer for motor vehicle accidents is unlimited. The Bill caps the maximum liability for third party insurance in case of a motor accident at Rs 10 lakh in case of death and at Rs 5 lakh in the case of grievous injury.
  3. There is a provision for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund that would give mandatory insurance cover to all road users in India for specific types of accidents.
  4. Improving the delivery of services to stakeholders using e-governance is one of the major focuses of this bill. This will include enabling online learning licenses, increasing the period of validity for driving licenses, and including requirements of educational qualifications for transport licenses.
  5. When any offences are committed by juveniles, the guardian/owner will be held guilty, and the juvenile shall be tried under the JJ Act, while the registration of the vehicle will be cancelled.
  6. The bill says that the state governments can go on to specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this act.
  7. To facilitate transport solutions for Divyang, the bottlenecks have been removed with regards to the grant of driving licenses and also alterations in the vehicles to make them fit for use of Divyang.
  8. The process for testing and certification for automobiles will also be regulated more effectively. The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the act.
  9. To bring about harmony in the registration and licensing process, it is proposed to create a national register for driving license and a national register for vehicle registration through the 'Vahan' and 'Sarathi' platforms.
  10. A time limit of six months has been specified for an application of compensation to the Claims Tribunal with regard to road accidents.

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