The new Road Safety and Transport Bill 2014 proposed by the government on Saturday is expected to come down heavily on traffic offenders and negligent drivers with heavy fine and prolonged imprisonment.
The bill unveiled by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry aims to cut down the accident rates by two lakh in the first five years. The government hopes to achieve a 4 per cent GDP improvement on account of increased efficiency and safety of road transport and also to create 10 lakh jobs by increased investments in the sector. India reports around 5 lakh road accidents annually with a death toll of about 1.4 lakh. Poor road quality and maintenance coupled with sluggish traffic control systems and driving violations and negligence contribute to a majority of the road mishaps. According to the estimates, 12.02 lakh people have lost their lives in the fatalities in ten years and 9177.32 crore have been let out by the insurance companies in the year 2012-13 alone.
The new Bill also moots a graded point system. Negative points will be assigned to those violating the traffic rules like crossing the speed limits, drunken driving, not fastening the seatbelts and neglecting the traffic signs and signals. Penalties up to 3 lakh and imprisonment up to 7 years would be imposed in certain cases of rash driving, faulty manufacturing design besides suspending the licenses and license cancellation if the offense is repeated. The Bill places special emphasis on safety and security of school children and women. New and improved digital mechanisms would be used in order to minimize human intervention and include features like unified vehicle registration systems at national and state levels, implementation of safety equipment of motor vehicles and technologies such as intelligent speed adaptation, driver alert control, eye drowsiness detectors, distance closure rate detection and green box monitoring along with several other provisions.
The ministry has sought comments online, from the public and stakeholders on the Bill and would present it before the Parliament thereafter. It has been drafted after studying the traffic practices of six advanced nations namely the US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Germany and the UK. The Bill put forward by the Modi government, is expected to bring about reforms in the transport sector which has been ignored by the earlier governments.