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Pay double the traffic fine if you want to avoid court dates

  • New laws are being planned to be implemented soon which would require traffic offenders to pay double the fine for the crime committed if they do not wish to attend court dates. Moreover they would even have to sign up for community service.
     
    "This is called compounding. While the present Motor Vehicles Act provides for this amount to be equal to the fine, the proposed amendments provide for doubling the compounding amount.There is also a provision for community service for offenders in most cases," a government source said.

    The amendments came up for discussion in the Cabinet on Wednesday evening. The changes are likely to be approved next week and changes in the Act would be introduced in the ongoing Parliament session.

    The proposed fine for jumping traffic light, not wearing seat belt or helmet is Rs 1,000 for the first offence, but an offender would have to pay Rs 2,000 to the police to avoid appearing in court. Similarly , for honking, one would have to pay Rs 1,000 against the fine of Rs 500. It will be similar for other offences.

    The amendments being brought in the MV Act provides for substantial increase in penalty -fine, jail, suspension of licence and even permanent debarment of licence -besides holding juveniles and their guardians or vehicle owners responsible for crashes caused by minors.The penalties will be higher for repeat offences.

    The proposed amendments intend to curb speeding and drunk driving, the two major causes of road crashes, by imposing high costs on drivers. The amendments propose Rs 5,000 fine or six months jail for first offence of driving at high speed and Rs 10,000 fine or two years imprisonment for subsequent offence.
     
    In case of drunk driving, the penalty proposed is six months jail and penalty of Rs 5,000 for first offence and 12 months jail and Rs 10,000 fine for second offence. Such offenders would also be debarred from holding licence. For most offences, there is also proposal for compulsory driver training.
     
    Besides hiking the penalty, the proposed amendments also deal with streamlining issuance of driving licences and registration certificates, getting permits and curbing corruption by using information technology . There is also focus on using technology for enforcement by local police and transport department.The amendments deal with increase in compensation for crash victims and to the kin in hit-and-run cases.
     
    Stronger law is one of the basic enablers for improving road safety and reducing crashes. India has the dubious distinction of registering 1.46 lakh deaths annually , which is the highest across the globe.
     

    OUR TAKE

    The community service part is feasible but double the fine is just a mockery. People have purses overflowing with money. These neo-rich class would prefer paying these fines than attending court dates. Stricter implementation and spreading awareness should be concentrated more upon. Even though the fines are being taken care of, it is indeed a question that why is the number of cases not going down. Back to the drawing boards it is!


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