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Penalising contractors for faulty roads key in Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill

The amended bill, after getting feedback from the public, was circulated amongst the MPs last week

Sunday July 14, 2019 10:18 PM, IANS

Motor Vehicle Act 2019

New Delhi: Digitization of motor licensing, safety of children during commuting, and stringent punishment for faulty road design and maintenance are priority areas in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019, slated to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The amended bill, after getting feedback from the public, was circulated amongst the MPs last week.

In a first, the bill to amend the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, envisages holding road contractors, consultants or concessionaires accountable for faulty road design, construction and maintenance. A penalty of Rs 1 lakh has been proposed for the erring contractors.

According to an analysis on the Bill by Save Life Foundation, a not-for-profit engaged in advocating road safety, "engineering/designing fault' caused 1,289 accidents in 2016, killing 589 (people). However, currently no provision exists to hold road contractors liable for defects in construction and maintenance."

The Bill also proposes a digitized licensing system which links the identification of the applicant as per the UID mechanism. It will supersede the existing Act, which is marred by the absence of a centralized database of all licenses and motor vehicles across India. As a consequence, a person can easily acquire multiple licenses from different states.

Through this system, the government is building an ecosystem to grant licenses in a transparent and efficient manner. "The insertion of Section 25A provides for the establishment of National Register for Driving Licences containing data on all driving licences issued throughout India," said Piyush Tewari, Founder and CEO, Save Life Foundation.

Tewari also added that the amendments specifies that no driving license shall be valid unless it has been issued a unique driving licence number under the National Register of Driving Licences.

The government is also keen to introduce specific provisions to protect children during commuting, with the proposed bill inserting Section 194B, which makes it mandatory for every child to be secured by a safety belt or a child-restraint system.

It also provides for adult accountability, with failure for not seating children in a safe manner entailing a penalty of Rs 1000", said the proposed Bill. Also, every child above the age of four years riding pillion on a motorcycle must have to wear a helmet.

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