A lot of things have changed


In the last one month, a lot of things have changed for motorists plying on Indian roads. With the Motor Vehicles Act 2019 coming into effect from September 1, the going has gotten difficult for those breaking traffic rules. From higher penalties for driving errors to imprisonment up to one month for racing and speeding; and up to six months for offences relating to accidents, the new Act is bringing back things in order by instilling fear. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers of States. Given that the Act wanted to deter individuals from violating traffic rules, it has introduced heavy fines for drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding, etc. These penalties will be increasing by 10 per cent every year on April 1, as notified by the Central government. The new Act has also extended the period for renewal of driving licences from one month to one year after the date of expiry. Only if the renewal delayed more than a year, will the driver have to undergo a test of competence. The Act also promises to protect those people who render emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim of an accident, from any civil or criminal liability. The minimum compensation for death or grievous injury due to hit and run has been moved up substantially.
Youngsters in the age group of 16-18 years and their parents are in a tizzy as the Regional Transport Office (RTO) Jammu has suddenly put brakes on granting driving license to these teens for riding gearless scooties even as online applications for the same are continuously being accepted. The peculiar situation has arisen because of an ambiguity in the Central Motor Vehicle Act, which provides for issuing license to 16-18 age group for below 50 CC gearless scooters though no such scooters are available in India. Since no two wheelers below 50 CC are available in India, the Regional Transport authorities were earlier adopting an apparent practical approach and had been issuing driving licenses to 16-18 age group for riding gearless scooties with 100 CC engine capacity, which maximum youngsters, mostly girls are seen whizzing past. However, this practical approach was discarded two months back and RTO Jammu ordered that no license should be issued to 16-18 age group because the available gearless scooties in the market are not below 50 CC. However, on the other hand, online applications as well as the fees for the driving license to ride gearless scooties by the teens of 16-18 age group are still being accepted with the result that hundreds of youngsters of this age group are continuously applying for the DL. The rush of the applicants for DL has suddenly increased manifold in view of the heavy penalties being imposed under new Motor Vehicle Act, which comes into force since September 1, 2019. The situation can be gauged from the fact that more than 300 applications for the Driving Licenses are being received daily in Jammu.

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