New Delhi, April 10: Dangerous driving that causes the death of a child would now attract a pelty of Rs.50,000 ($805) as well as imprisonment under proposed legislation that suggests an over 40 percent increase in existing fines for traffic infractions. However, BJP leader and former top cop Kiran Bedi calls it a “joke”, echoing experts who find the hikes a half-baked solution and call for Prime Minister rendra Modi to whip up a “tiol movement” for road safety akin to Swachch Bharat. “A fine of Rs.50,000 for causing a death is a joke. Is life so cheap in India,” Bedi, known for ruthlessly enforcing the law as the traffic head of Delhi Police in the seventies, asked while speaking to IANS, adding: “We need prevention and not collection of fines. Toughness of law and fairness in enforcement along with advanced technology for sound traffic magement is the answer for road safety.” While such pecuniary pelties play a “vital role”, experts say holistic traffic magement must be complemented with strict enforcement, traffic police training, enhanced provisions like declaring drunken driving a “crimil” offence and a strong political will on the part of lawmakers who could become “ambassadors” of road safety. With an average of 375 deaths per day (over 135,000 a year) due to road accidents in India, “we need to adopt road safety as a tiol cause. The prime minister must take the onus the way he is doing for Swachch Bharat or Ganga cleaning,” road safety campaigner Prince Singhal, the founder of Campaign Against Drunken Driving, told IANS. Singhal also urged MPs, legislators and village council heads to become “ambassadors” of road safety. “They must channelise government funds like MPLADS (for development in their respective constituencies) towards devising and executing programmes geared to ensure road safety,” he said. In a bid to crack down on rampant driving violation and growing number of traffic related deaths and casualties, the rendra Modi government has sought to drastically up the pelties for traffic violations. According to an official statement, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is consulting stakeholders before legalising the hiked pelties that are proposed in the fourth draft and reflect a substantial increase in the quantum of punishment that is way above those provided in the outdated Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. For instance, as per the draft Road Transport and Safety Bill, available on the ministry’s website, first-time offenders of impaired driving may have to cough up Rs.10,000 and face a possible six-month suspension of licence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is found more than 20.0 mg per 100 ml of blood. Subsequent incidents will attract a fine of Rs.20,000 in conjunction with up to six months’ imprisonment and one year of licence suspension. A ticket for exceeding the posted limit by five kmph will see a 40 percent jump from the existing fine of Rs.400 in the 27-year-old act. (ians)
How does India measure up to the rest of the world on road safety norms?
How does India measure up to the rest of the world on road safety norms? (With Traffic violations: Are just stiffer pelties the solution?)
* Drunken Driving:
India: Proposed maximum legal BAC limit - 20.0 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; Rs. 5,000-Rs.10,000 for first timers; possible licence suspension for six months; repeat offenders - Rs. 10,000-20,000 with licence suspension and 1-6 months’ imprisonment.
Toronto: Max legal BAC: Crimil offence to drive with .08 and over; immediate licence suspension; if found guilty, licence suspended for one year followed with impaired driving education and a self-breath alyzer installed in the car after licence reinstatement. The alyzer triggers into action with the car’s ignition.
New South Wales: Repeat offenders required to first pass driver’s knowledge test
* Jumping a red light:
India: Proposed maximum fine of Rs. 1,500
Calgary: $229 (Rs.14,300)
Paris: $145 (Rs.9,125)
*Speeding: India: Proposed to publish offenders mes’ in newspapers; Rs.1,000-2,000; possible impounding of vehicle for one month; possible cancellation of licence for one year; suspension of permit for six months; possible refresher training. London: Maximum fine for fixed pelty $148 (Rs.9,265); maximum fine for case referred to court $1,480; pelty points in some cases. New York: If caught on speed cameras - $90 to $1,200 (Rs.5,600-Rs.74,700; no demerit points but possible jail term) (IANS)