Everything related to Traffic Laws in India

August 16, 2018
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

India has the second largest road networks in the world and at the same time, it accounts for 10% of worldwide road fatalities. Considering this, road safety responsibility becomes highly essential for everyone.

Moreover, traffic in India at its worst is chaotic, which is perhaps an understatement to describe the traffic in India. Traffic clogging is one of the common problems faced by nearly all the citizens of India. The principal reason behind this is the incapability of the existing roadways to handle the increasing number of motor vehicles on roads. Something needs to be done swiftly about the traffic nuisance considering the inconvenience and harassment faced by the common man. Thousands of commuters feel distressed due to this menace everyday almost everywhere in India.

Metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, etc. deal with the menace of traffic every day. The reason behind the menace is the increasing number of cars on the roads, extremely poor road management, poor quality roads, nuisance created due to the VIP movement and etc.

In addition to this, over 1,37,000 people were killed in road accidents in 2013 alone, that is more than the number of people killed in all our wars put together. One serious road accident in the country occurs every minute and 16 die on Indian roads every hour and Two wheelers alone account for 25% of total road crash deaths in India.
Motor Accident Claim in case of an accident

Pertaining to the inconvenience faced by citizens due to the VIP movement a recent judgment by the Madras High Court clearly declared that traffic won’t be asked to stop for more than 10 minutes and that the traffic should only be stopped for a longer duration in cases where dignitaries of the level of the Prime Minister or the President are traveling. This relaxation has been granted since these dignitaries don’t travel frequently and whenever they do, the public is notified prior to the movement.

Apart from this, there have been so many instances where ambulances have suffered and patients have been left hanging due to traffic blockage due to VIP movement. The Police have been issuing memos against such traffic blocking, however, issuing a memo is commendable but the implementation is the key to proving whether this memo plays to the gallery or is a good policy change. Policemen on the ground should be given the confidence to stop a VIP for an ambulance.

Apart from this, restricted space and lack of proper infrastructure add on to the menace. Planning plays a significant role in building any infrastructure. Since, there hasn’t been proper planning and even worse execution, the cities are forced to work with the routes they already have. This is, therefore, the key reason for traffic blockage in India.

However, some basic traffic rules if followed sincerely can curb down the traffic menace a little. For instance-

  • Drivers must drive vehicles on the left side of the road

  • Drivers must use the specified hand signals or vehicle indicators to indicate slowing down, stopping, turning and even while overtaking

  • Drivers must follow lane discipline. For instance, while turning to the left, the vehicle must be on the extreme left corner of the lane of the road and vice versa

  • Drivers must only overtake another vehicle from the right side of that vehicle

  • Drivers must allow free passage to fire service vehicles and ambulances

 Certain traffic norms that every commuter must know and abide by


What to do when you are pulled over? 

  1. You must carefully stop your car when signaled by a traffic police official and produce the documents required by the official; otherwise resulting in breaking of law if you don’t.

  2. However, you are entitled to ask him the reason for stopping you. Although you need not get into an argument if you feel there is a genuine reason for breaking the rule, explain it to the official.

  3. Moreover, if you have committed any mistake, explain it to the officer candidly and seek his mercy. He might even let you off with a warning if approached with courtesy and politeness.

  4. If the police official confiscates your driving license, you may compound the offence by paying a fine to the police officer under whose jurisdiction your license was confiscated otherwise you will be provided a notice from the court. In case you fail to appear before the court, a bailable arrest warrant may be issued.

  5. If the police official is an officer of a rank sub-inspector or above, you may even compound the offence on the spot by paying a fine.

Know your right's when pulled over

Powers of a Traffic Official 

  1. A traffic official has been empowered to demand your driver’s license and inspect other essential vehicle documents such as the registration certificate, insurance certificate, authentic PUC certificate and a fitness permit. It is pertinent to carry the original documents and produce them when demanded since the failure of the same on your part might even lead to fine or arrest and court proceedings.

  2. The official may impound your driver’s license and other vehicle documents if deemed necessary. The police official shall give to the person surrendering the license a temporary acknowledgment receipt. Such receipt shall authorize the holder to drive until the license has been returned or until such date specified in the acknowledgment receipt.

  3. A traffic official is an absolute authority on a road. If he/ she gives you instructions, it is your duty to follow them, regardless of the electronic traffic signals.

  4. A police official is also empowered to seize and detain your vehicle if you are driving without your license, proper permits, and certificates or if your vehicle is not registered.

  5. A police official in a uniform may arrest you without a warrant if you are found in his/ her presence committing an offence such as driving dangerously or under influence or using the vehicle without proper authority.


What to do when harassed by a Traffic Official? 

  1. You must never succumb to the illegal demands of a police official.

  2. You must allow the official to impound your license; must not attempt to bribe the traffic official.

  3. You must note down his name, which shall be mentioned on the plate of his shirt. If he does not have one, you may demand his identity card. If he fails to provide his identity card, don’t give him your documents.

  4. You can approach the traffic police with a specific complaint indicating all the particulars about the incident; this must include details about the concerned police official. It is desirable to send this complaint by a registered post.

New fine amount imposed by the government


Violation Amount

New Fine Amount

Previous Fine

Overloading Two-wheelers

Rs. 2000 License scrap for 3 months

Rs. 100

Drunken Driving

Rs. 10,000

Rs. 2000

Over Speeding

Rs. 1000 for LMV, Rs. 2000 for MMV

Rs. 400

Dangerous Driving

Rs. 5,000

Rs. 1000

Driving Without Insurance

Rs. 2,000

Rs. 100

Signal Jumping

Rs. 1000 License scrap for 3 months

Rs. 100

Riding Without Helmet

Rs. 1000 License scrap for 3 months

Rs. 100

Driving Without Permit

Up to Rs. 10000

Up to Rs. 5000


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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