All You Need to Know About the New Motor Vehicle Laws 2019

हिंदी में पढ़ें
January 06, 2020
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

India has one of the largest road networks in the world and not surprisingly, home to a big percentage of world road fatalities. The traffic rules in a country like this ought to be strict and extensive. To regulate road transport vehicles, the Motor Vehicles Act was passed by Parliament in 1988. Regulations for traffic, vehicle insurance, penalties, permits, registration of vehicles, etc. have been covered under the Act. 

In order to make the roads safer, the Government of India (in consultation with the State Transport Ministers), introduced the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill in 2017. Lok Sabha passed the said Bill in 2017 and was cleared by Rajya Sabha on July 31, 2019. A Notification listing out the new laws and rules, was issued by the Transport Ministry on August 28, 2019. However, this new Motor Vehicles (Amendments) Act 2019 is set to come into effect from September 1, 2019. 

Now, each driver/passenger on the road needs to be more cautious than ever. The major changes in penalties and the important new motor vehicle laws and penalties have been explained in this article:

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Enhanced Penalties

As expected, the penalties for errors in driving have been enhanced. Now, bad driving can cost an individual a much bigger dent in his/her pocket. Certain enhanced penalties have been stated below: 

1. Penalty for dangerous driving (including jumping red lights, violating stop signs, driving against the authorised flow of traffic): 

First time offence - Imprisonment of six months to one year and/or fine of upto Rs. 1000-Rs.5000

Subsequent offence - Imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs.10,000

2. Penalty for drunken driving: 

First time offence - Imprisonment of six months and/or fine up to Rs.10,000

Subsequent offence - Imprisonment of two years and/or fine up to Rs.15,000

3. Penalty for speeding and racing:

First time offence - Imprisonment of one month and/or fine of upto Rs.500

Subsequent offence - Rs. 1500

4. Penalty for driving an uninsured vehicle:

First time offence - Imprisonment up to 3 months and/or fine up to Rs.2000

Subsequent offence -  Imprisonment up to 3 months and/or fine up to Rs.4000

5. Penalty for driving without a license/permit:

Fine of Rs.5,000

6. Penalty for offences related to accidents: 

First time offence - Imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs.5000 

Subsequent offence - Imprisonment up to 1 year and/or fine up to Rs.10,000 

7. Penalty for driving when mentaly or physically unfit for driving:

First time offence - Fine up to Rs.1,000 

Subsequent offence - Fine up to Rs.2,000 

8. Penalty for causing obstruction in free flow of traffic:

Fine of Rs.500

9. Penalty for now wearing a helmet or a seatbelt:

Fine of Rs. 1000

10. Penalty for offences where no penalty has explicitly been stated: 

First time offence - Rs.500 

Subsequent offence - Rs.1500

Consult: Top Motor Accident Lawyers in India

Comparison of Penalties under the Motor Vehicles Act Before and After the Amendment of 2019



Old Amount

New Amount

Offences where no specific penalty is provided

Rs. 100 for first offense and Rs. 300 for second or subsequent offense

Rs. 500 for first offense, Rs. 1500 for subsequent offense

Violation of road regulations


Rs. 500 to 1000

Travelling without ticket

Rs. 200

Rs. 500

Not obeying orders of Authority and refusal to share information

Rs. 500

Rs. 2000

Unauthorised use of vehicles without license

Rs. 1000

Rs. 5000

Driving without license

Rs. 500

Rs. 5000

Driving despite disqualification

Rs. 500

Rs. 10000


Rs. 400

Rs 1000 - Rs 2000 for light motor vehicle, Rs 2000 - Rs 4000 for medium passenger or goods vehicles and impounding of driving license for second/subsequent offence.

Dangerous driving


Imprisonment of 6 months to 1 year and/or fine of Rs. 1000- Rs. 5000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine up to Rs. 10000 for second offence.

Drunken driving


Imprisonment up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs. 10000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 2 years and/or fine of Rs. 15000 for second offence.

Driving when mentally or physically unfit

Rs. 200 for first offense, Rs. 500 for second or subsequent offence

First offence- Rs. 1000 and second or subsequent offence- Rs. 2000

Offences relating to accident


Imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or fine up to Rs. 5000 for first offence and imprisonment up to 1 year and/or fine up to Rs. 10000 for second offence.

Racing and speeding


Imprisonment of up to 1 month and/or fine up to Rs. 500 for first offence and imprisonment up to 1month and/or fine up to Rs. 10000 for second offence

Driving uninsured vehicle

Fine of Rs. 1000 and/or punishment up to 3 months

Rs. 2000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the first offence and fine of Rs. 4000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months for the second offence.

Taking vehicle without lawful authority and seizing motor vehicle by force

Rs. 500

Rs. 5000

Causing obstruction to free flow of traffic

Rs. 50

Rs. 500


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Several new penalties have also been prescribed in the Amendment Act. These are as follows:

1. Penalty for carrying excessive passengers (i.e. more than what is authorised in the registration certificate): 

Fine  of Rs.200 per excess passenger

2. Penalty for failure to use safety belts while driving: 

Fine of Rs.1,000

3. Penalty for violation of rules in seating children i.e. driving a vehicle with a child of less than 14 years without him/her being secured with a safety/child restraint system: 

Fine of Rs.1,000

4. Penalty for driving a motorcycle/ two-wheeler carrying more than one person in addition to himself: 

Fine of Rs.1,000 and disqualification of licence for a period of three months

5. Penalty for failure to allow free passage to emergency vehicles (including fire service vehicles and ambulances): 

Imprisonment upto 6 months and/or fine of Rs.10,000

6. Penalty for needless and continuous sounding of horn or in ‘horn free/silent zones’: 

First offence: Fine of Rs. 1,000
Subsequent offence: Fine of Rs. 2,000

According to the Act, the fines mentioned  are to be increased by up to 10% annually. 

Consult: Top Motor Accident Lawyers in India

Other important features of the new Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019: 


Renewal of driving licence : 

Now, an individual can apply for renewing of his/her driving licence any time from one year before its actual expiry and up until one year after the actual expiry. This means that if your driving licence is due to expire in December 2020, you can apply for renewal from December 2019 till December 2021. If an individual applies after one year of expiry of the licence, then he/she would be required to go through the process of taking the driving licence test again. 


Change in residential address: 

Now, an individual can change the residential address or their place of business mentioned in his/her driving licence online itself and one can apply for this to any registering authority within the State. 


Minor children driving motor vehicles: 

Starting from 1st September 2019, if you give your minor kids you car/car keys, it will cost you immensely - not only monetarily, but also your licence, car and jail time. As per the new Amendment Act, if a minor child uses a motor vehicle, the registration of your vehicle could be cancelled for a whole year and once that year is over, you would be required to submit fresh applications for registration of your vehicle. 

Two new sections - Section 199A and 199B have been inserted in the Act which state that the parent will be fined a sum of Rs. 25,000 and imprisonment upto 3 years. Not only this, even your minor child would not be allowed to get his/her driving licence till the age of 25. These stricter penalties have been imposed to curb the major problem of underage driving in the country. 

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In 2018 alone, road deaths in India were reported to touch a whopping 1.49 Lakh. This is a huge cause of concern and can be reduced only by stricter laws and higher punishments ensuring that individuals drive more safely, along with efforts to ensure the road accident victims are given timely treatments to avoid fatalities.  For this reason, the Amendment Act also states that the Government would provide for schemes for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the golden hour(time period lasting one hour after a traumatic injury during which there is maximum likelihood of preventing death). 


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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