Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

Sep, 13, 2019

[op-ed snap] Let’s talk safety

CONTEXT

The new Motor Vehicles Act has provoked controversy.

Objectives

  • The overarching aim of the new law is to bring down the number of road accidents in the country.
  • The Motor Vehicles Act stipulates the Central Government to make rules for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety including speed cameras, closed-circuit television cameras, speed guns, body wearable cameras, and such other technology.
  • It also asks state governments to ensure electronic monitoring on national and state highways.

Controversial provisions

  • The penalties stipulated under the Act have attracted criticism.
  • The Motor Vehicles Act stipulates a 10-fold increase in fines for road safety traffic violations, driving under the influence of alcohol, not using seat belts and driving without seat belts.
  • Gujarat has slashed the fines for 15 violations under the Act, reducing the quantum of penalties by 50 to 70%. Two other state governments in Uttarakhand and Karnataka have also expressed reservations about the new law.

Fines are okay

  • States have the rights to bring down fines.
  • Stringent penalties are necessary because people’s lives must be saved.
    1,50,000 people die in road accidents in the country — 10% of all such fatalities worldwide.

Way ahead

  • Its litmus test will lie in effective implementation by enforcement agencies.
  • Punitive measures will not achieve much without an adequate number of traffic police personnel and road-safety devices like traffic lights.
  • Unless law enforcement officials give up old habits like bribery, the purpose of the new law will be defeated.
  • The Odisha government, which has relaxed the implementation of the law for three months, has asked traffic regulators “to counsel and handhold the public”.
  • Rajasthan has partially implemented the Act and has decided to take steps to “self-motivate people”.

CONCLUSION

The self-motivation versus deterrence debate is not new. It’s heartening that the new Motor Vehicles Act has rekindled this discussion.

Sep, 05, 2019

[op-ed snap] Putting accident victims at the centre of vehicles law

Context

An act for penalties

  • It is well known that India is one of the most accident-prone countries in the world.
  • India accounts for nearly 1,50,000 deaths — 10% of all motor vehicles-related fatalities worldwide.
  • The discourse concerning the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 has only followed this trend, as disproportionate press coverage is given to the enhanced penalties to be levied on offenders.
  • However, the debate often revolves around how to minimize road accidents by incorporating deterrents into laws and ignores the interests of the victims.
  • This lack of victim-centricity in the discourse, though deplorable, is unsurprising.

For victims of road accidents

  • The amended Act gives the victims some respite as it provides for an enhanced insurance compensation of ₹5 lakh in case of death of a person in a traffic accident and ₹2.5 lakh where there is “grievous hurt”.
  • The compensation to be awarded following hit-and-run accidents has also been raised to ₹2 lakh when a victim dies and ₹50,000 when he/she suffers a grievous injury.
  • The fact that the NCRB does not collate data pertaining to the socio-economic and demographic profile of victims of traffic accidents is a testament to the relative apathy shown by the state machinery.

Cashless treatment

  • Additionally, the Act now requires insurance companies and the government to notify schemes relating to cashless treatment during the ‘Golden Hour’.
  • It is the crucial period of first 60 minutes from the occurrence of an accident when the risk of fatality can be minimized to the greatest extent.
  • Further, it mandates compulsory insurance of all road users, including pedestrians, who will be covered through a ‘Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’.
  • Lastly, it also provides for interim relief to be provided to the claimants.

Delays in settlement

  • Another problem highlighted by the apex court for which the new Act does not provided any remedy is that of procedural delays on the part of tribunals in claims settlement.
  • The provision for interim compensation is bound to bring some respite to the victims but another unaddressed concern makes this stipulation susceptible to criticism.
  • An absence of in-built safeguards in the compensation mechanism allows for the money to be frittered away by unscrupulous relatives, touts and agents, especially in cases where the victim or his nearest kin are poor and illiterate.
  • It is to address this concern that the Supreme Court in Jai Prakash suggested payment in the form of monthly disbursements of smaller amounts over a longer period of time to victims or their kin.
  • This has been overlooked by the new Act.

Road infrastructure: One stop solution

  • Many of the problems with the Motor Vehicles Act remain unaddressed or are inadequately addressed by the amended version.
  • For instance, though vehicle users who don’t give passage to emergency ambulance vehicle are liable to be punished with fines.
  • Such punitive measures are likely to remain ineffective in the absence of an effective implementation mechanism.
  • Further, other factors that lead to a poor response time, including lack of road infrastructure, also need to be taken into account.

Way Forward

  • Understandably, many of the points raised above cannot be specified statutorily.
  • These provisions, well-intentioned, are no doubt steps in the right direction.
  • However, much more needs to be done if the accident victims are to be provided complete justice.
  • Hence, the government needs to notify an institutional framework which encourages advocacy for victims and facilitates access to the various services.
  • Hence, the government needs to notify an institutional framework which encourages advocacy for victims and facilitates access to the various services.
Jul, 30, 2019

Microdots technology for Vehicles


News

  • The government has come out with draft rules to make microdots mandatory in vehicles.
  • This move will also ensure that consumers have a way of identifying original parts from fake ones and that contributes to overall safety as well.

Microdots Technology

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification on amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, and allowing motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies to be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots.
  • These microdots can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultraviolet light.
  • Microdots are a globally proven technology to ensure originality in spare parts of machines and components, including in the automobile sector.
  • The government has envisaged that with microdots becoming a permanent feature in vehicles, identifying them would become easier in case they are stolen.

How it works?

  • The microdots and adhesive are to become a permanent fixture/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset itself.
  • The microdots are to comply with AIS 155 requirements, if affixed.
  • The technology involves spraying thousands of microscopic dots onto vehicles or other assets to form a unique identification.
  • Each microdot carries this identification which is registered to the owner, but is not visible to the naked eye.
Jul, 18, 2019

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019

News

  • Minister for Road Transport and Highways has been in the news as he pushes the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament.
  • The amendments proposed by the government to the existing Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 essentially focus on improving road safety.

Key elements of the proposed amendment

Minimum Compensation

  • The Bill proposes to increase the minimum compensation for hit and run cases.
  • In particular, in case of death, such compensation would vary from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 Lakh.
  • In the case of grievous injury, it would vary from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.
  • Beyond road safety, the Bill also increases penalties for several offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Cashless treatment of victims

  • The Bill also enables the Central government to develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during the “golden hour” (first 60 minutes following the injury during which doctors have the best chance of saving a life).

Accident Fund

  • The government’s insurance scheme is likely to be funded through a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund that the central government is expected to constitute to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • This fund will be available for the treatment of the injured.

Defining Good Samaritan

  • The Bill also defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident.
  • However, to be seen as one, such assistance must have been given in good faith, voluntarily, and without the expectation of any reward.
  • If these conditions are met, such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim, caused due to their negligence in assisting the victim.

National Road Safety Board

  • The Bill also proposes a National Road Safety Board which will advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.
  • The Bill also enables the central government to order a recall of motor vehicles if it is found that they are defective and can cause harm to other road users or the environment.
  • In case of such a recall, the manufacturers would either have to replace the faulty vehicle or pay full compensation to the customer.

Regulating digital intermediaries

  • The Bill also attempts to plug a policy gap that has been introduced by the emergence of shared economy concepts and technology.
  • As such, it defines taxi aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes.
  • These aggregators will be issued licenses by state, but, they must also comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Feb, 08, 2019

Delhi government launches Zero Fatality Corridor

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Zero Fatality Corridor

Mains level: Steps for curbing fatalities in road accidents in India


News

  • The Delhi state govt has launched the ‘Zero Fatality Corridor’ (ZFC) to assess the cause for crashes on the stretch in the Capital.

Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC)

  1. ZFC is to be run in partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation, a leading road safety non-profit organization.
  2. The initiative is aimed at bringing down injuries and deaths due to road crashes.
  3. It is in line with Delhi government’s plan of action to reduce fatalities due to road crashes by 30 per cent by 2020.
  4. Through the ‘Zero Fatality Corridor’ pilot project the aim is to reduce the fatalities to near zero levels on this particular stretch.
  5. After evaluating the impact of the initiative, the model will be replicated in other parts of the city.

Why such move?

  1. As many as 1690 people were killed, and 6086 people were injured in 6515 road crashes in 2018, according to Delhi traffic police.
  2. The ZFC model of the non-profit is known for reducing road crash deaths by 30% on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
  3. It reduces deaths through a 360-degree intervention, road engineering, police enforcement, rapid emergency care and road-user engagement.
Jan, 02, 2019

[pib] Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS)

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IBMS

Mains level: Road Infrastructure maintenance in India


News

  • The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has inventorized 1,72,517 bridges/structures under Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS).

Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS)

  1. The IBM System has been established to develop the data in digital form, to identify, survey and inventorize the number of bridges and other structures on National Highways.
  2. It crucially aims to identify the distressed bridges which need immediate attention and to sensitize the concerned implementation agency for taking corrective measures such as repair, rehabilitation reconstruction/ new construction etc.

Working of the IBMS

  1. During inventory creation each bridge is assigned a unique identification number or National Identity Number based on the state, RTO zone and whether it is situated on an National Highway, State Highway or is a district road.
  2. Then the precise location of the bridge in terms of latitude-longitude is collected through GPS and based on this, the bridge is assigned a Bridge Location Number.
  3. Thereafter, engineering characteristics like the design, materials, type of bridge, its age, loading, traffic lane, length, width of carriage way etc are collected and are used to assign a Bridge Classification Number to the structure.
  4. These are then used to do a structural rating of the structure on a scale of 0 to 9, and each bridge is assigned a Structural Rating Number.
  5. The rating is done for each component of the structure like integral and non integral deck, superstructure, substructure, bank and channel, structural evaluation, deck geometry, vertical clearance, waterway efficiency etc.
  6. In addition to the structural rating, the bridges are also being assigned Socio-Economic Bridge Rating Number which will decide the importance of the structure in relation to its contribution to daily socio-economic activity of the area in its vicinity.
Oct, 16, 2018

[pib] Youth Road Safety Learners License Programme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Youth Road Safety Learners License programme

Mains level: Measures to curb fatalities of Road Accidents in India


News

Youth Road Safety Learners License Programme

  1. Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways has launched the YRSL programme in New Delhi.
  2. The programme is a PPP initiative to be run in collaboration with Diageo India and the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE).
  3. Rash driving, drunken driving, lack of adequate safety measures like not wearing helmets are some of the major factors resulting in high road accidents.
  4. It attempts to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for learner’s license.

Road Accident Fatalities in India

  1. India accounts for 12.5 per cent (over 1.45 lakh fatalities a year) of global road accidents, with one road accident occurring every four minutes.
  2. Alarmingly, 72 per cent victims involved in such road mishaps are between the age groups of 15-44 years with speeding, reckless.
  3. Drunk driving is the top reason accounting for 5 per cent of road traffic accidents and 4.6 per cent of fatalities.
Oct, 11, 2018

[op-ed snap] Deadly roads in India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee for road safety

Mains level: Rising instances of road accidents in India and the factors responsible for them


Context

Report on road accidents

  1. The Road Accidents in India report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for 2017 comes as a disappointment
  2. It expresses concern at the large number of people who die every year and the thousands who are crippled in accidents
  3. The remedies it highlights are weak, incremental and unlikely to bring about a transformation
  4. By reiterating poorly performing policies and programmes, it has failed to signal the quantum shift necessary to reduce death and disability on the roads

Not following SC mandate

  1. The lack of progress in reducing traffic injuries is glaring, given that the Supreme Court is seized of the issue
  2. SC has been issuing periodic directions in a public interest petition with the assistance of the Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan Committee constituted by the Centre
  3. The Centre has watered down the national bus body standards code in spite of a commitment given to the Supreme Court, by requiring only self-certification by the builders
  4. Relaxing this long-delayed safety feature endangers thousands of passengers

Institutions for road safety not adequate

  1. Valuable time has been lost in creating institutions for road safety with a legal mandate, starting with an effective national agency
  2. The Road Safety Councils at the all-India and State levels have simply not been able to change the dismal record, and the police forces lack the training and motivation for professional enforcement
  3. The urgent need is to fix accountability in government
  4. Little has been done to fulfil what the Road Transport Ministry promises: that the Centre and the States will work to improve safety as a joint responsibility, although enforcement of rules is a State issue

Way forward

  1. It is welcome that greater attention is being paid to the design and safety standards of vehicles, but such professionalism should extend to public infrastructure
  2. This includes the design of roads, their quality and maintenance, and the safety of public transport, among others
Oct, 03, 2018

President gives assent to India's first good Samaritan Bill

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the bill, Article 200, 201

Mains level: Measures to curb fatalities of Road Accidents in India


News

Context

  • The Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill 2016 received the President’s assent to finally become an Act.

The Golden Hour

  1. The legislation aims to give protection to good Samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the ‘golden hour’.
  2. In medical term the ‘golden hour’ is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial.
  3. It encourages people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.

Good Samaritan Fund

  1. Under the new law, the Karnataka government will provide financial help to good Samaritans who help victims in a timely manner.
  2. They will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations.
  3. But if in case the attendance is mandatory, expenses of such “running around to courts and police stations” will be taken care through the proposed ‘Good Samaritan Fund’.

Provisions of the Bill

  1. The legislation covers the costs of “running around to courts and police stations” and grants the “Samaritans” exemption from repeated attendance in courts.
  2. It also makes it mandatory for all government and private hospitals to give first aid to accident victims. Karnataka accounted for a significantly high number of road accident fatalities in 2016 and 2015.

Back2Basics

Governor’s power to Reserve Bills for President’s reconsideration

  1. Under Article 200, the Governor can reserve a bill passed by the legislature for reconsideration of the President.
  2. A bill can be reserved under the following circumstances:
  • if the bill is unconstitutional,
  • if it is against the larger interest of the country,
  • if it is in direct opposition to the Directive Princi­ples of State Policy,
  • if the bill passed by the state legislature is of grave national importance,
  • if it endangers the position of the High Court and
  • if the bill, deals with the compulsory acquisition of property under Article 31(3).
  1. This reservation is an alternative to his giving or refusing assent to the Bill. Indeed, in matters where reservation is compulsory, the Governor is prohibited from giving his assent.
  2. The Constitution does not specify the time-limit within which the Governor can reserve the bill and when the bill would come back.
  3. Under Article 201, when the Governor sends a bill to the President for reconsideration, the President has to declare whether he is giving or withholding his assent.
  4. In cases of non-money bills, the President, if he is not giving his assent, can ask the Governor to send the bill back to the House or Houses as the case may be.
  5. The House or Houses will reconsider this bill, sent by the President, within a period of six months from the date of receipt of such message.
  6. If it is again passed by the House or Houses, with or without amendment, it shall be presented again to the President for his consideration.
Aug, 06, 2018

[op-ed snap] Change gears: amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, Concurrent List

Mains level: India’s fast-growing transport sector and various issues related to it


Context

Opposition to Motor Vehicles Act

  1. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha last year, seeks to address lacunae in transport sector, but it has now run into opposition in the Rajya Sabha because of its perceived shift of power from the States to the Centre
  2. As the subject is in the Concurrent List, Parliament can make a law defining powers available to the States
  3. Some State governments are concerned about the new provisions

Concerns of the states

  1. Sections 66A and 88A will empower the Centre to form a National Transportation Policy through a process of consultation, and not concurrence
  2. The changes will also enable Centrally-drafted schemes to be issued for national, multi-modal and inter-State movement of goods and passengers, for rural mobility and even last-mile connectivity
  3. Since all this represents a new paradigm that would shake up the sector, several States have opposed the provisions as being anti-federal

Changing dynamics of the transport sector

  1.  The passenger transport sector operating within cities and providing inter-city services has grown amorphously
  2. Vested interests of some people have resulted in exploiting the lack of transparency and regulatory bottlenecks
  3. State-run services have not kept pace with the times
  4. Major investments made in the urban metro rail systems are yielding poor results in the absence of last-mile connectivity services

What needs to be done?

  1. Creating an equitable regulatory framework for the orderly growth of services is critical
  2. This could be achieved through changes to the MV Act that set benchmarks for States
  3. Enabling well-run bus services to operate across States with suitable permit charges is an imperative to meet the needs of a growing economy
  4. The effort to curb institutionalised corruption at Regional Transport Offices by making it possible for dealers to directly register new vehicles, and enabling online applications for driving licences is welcome
  5. It is the certainty of enforcement, zero tolerance and escalating penalties that will really work

Way Forward

  1. India’s law governing motor vehicles and transport is archaic, lacking the provisions necessary to manage fast motorisation
  2. The lacunae in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, require to be addressed to improve road safety, ensure orderly use of vehicles and expand public transport
Jul, 31, 2018

Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) in Fin Min domain: Govt

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF), Central Road Fund Act, 2000

Mains level: Various cess being charged and their usage as well as relevance


News

Fund for roads & infra

  1. Work related to the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) has been taken away from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and brought under the domain of the Finance Ministry
  2. It will now be under the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry

Changes in the usage pattern of road cess

  1. Budget 2018 amended the Central Road Fund Act, 2000, and renamed the Central Road Fund the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund
  2. The objective of the amendment was to use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges

Ministerial Panel to approve projects

  1. The government recently constituted a ministerial panel headed by the Finance Minister to decide on fund allocation for infrastructure projects from the CRIF
  2. The four-member committee would approve recommendations made by the sub-committee headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary on the list of infrastructure projects to be financed from the CIRF
  3. Other members of the committee include the Ministers of Road Transport and Highways, Railways and Human Resource Development
Jul, 30, 2018

All about the FASTag

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FASTag

Mains level: Measures being taken to ensure highway safety along with increasing speed of movement on highways


News

FASTags mandatory

  1. It is mandatory for cars and trucks sold after December 1, 2017, to be fitted with a FASTag

What is a FASTag?

  1. A FASTag is a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment
  2. It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it
  3. The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and the tag identification number, following which the boom barrier lifts to allow a vehicle to pass through
  4. Apart from enjoying a cashless transaction, users can also pass through the plaza without having to stop their vehicle to make the payment

Categorisation & usage

  1. The tag, which is valid for five years, comes in seven different colours — violet, orange, yellow, green, pink, blue, black
  2. Each colour is assigned to a particular category of vehicles
  3. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has tied up with 20 banks to allow people to recharge their cards as well as for owners of old vehicles to purchase a FASTag
  4. The tags can also be procured from kiosks set up at toll plazas
  5. The NHAI also has a mobile application for FASTag that allows users to buy and recharge these tags as well as seek information on toll rates on different routes
Jul, 20, 2018

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the amendment

Mains level:  Road safety in India


News

A Quick Recap on Road Safety

  1. In the year that the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill was first introduced, India saw 1.5 lakh deaths from road accidents, according to the ‘Road Accidents in India, 2016’ report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  2. In 2017, when it was reintroduced, there had been a marginal decline in that number, but the loss of lives from road accidents remains high in the country.
  3. To make roads safer, the Centre in consultation with State Transport Ministers came up with this Bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  4. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed by the Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017, and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
  5. The new Bill takes into account revision of challans, taxi aggregators, third party insurance, computerisation of licensing authorities, and so on. It also provides for a National Road Safety Board.

What this amendment seeks to bring?

(A)Removal of intermediaries

  1. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill seeks to redress this by taking the process online. Tests for driving licenses will be automated, and learner’s licences will be issued online.
  2. However, State governments oversee RTOs right now. The government has not yet created clear guidelines on how States will have to adopt this new Bill.

(B)Issuance of Driving licenses

  1. While under the 1988 Act, a driving licence is valid for 20 years until a person turns 50, and for five-year periods after the age of 50, under the new law, more categories have been created.
  2. A driving licence issued to a person under the age of 30 is valid till the person turns 40.
  3. For those who receive licences between the ages of 30 and 50, the licence will remain valid for 10 years.
  4. If the licence is issued between 50 and 55 years, it will be valid until the person turns 60, and above 55 years, licences will carry a five-year validity.

(C)Regulating the Aggregators

  1. The Bill defines aggregators as “a digital intermediary or market place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation.”
  2. The 2016 Bill required State governments to issue licences to aggregators such as Uber or Ola as per “guidelines as may be issued by the Central Government,” but when the Bill was reintroduced in 2017, it became optional for State governments to follow central guidelines.
  3. One of the issues with the original Bill was that it did not mention what the central guidelines would cover.
  4. Aggregators, however, now have to be compliant with the Information Technology Act, 2000.Aggregators are as yet unregulated in India, and this Bill seeks to change that.

(D)Third-party insurance

  1. The 2016 version of the Bill had capped the payments to be made under third-party insurance.
  2. The 2017 Bill has removed that cap.

(E)Vehicle recall will be legal obligation

  1. The new Bill provides for the recall of vehicles if the defective vehicle is a danger to the environment, the driver or other road users.
  2. The manufacturer will then have to reimburse all buyers with the full cost of the vehicle, replace the defective vehicle, and if necessary pay a fine as specified by the government.
  3. So far, manufacturers were at the helm of product recalls. The introduction of this clause means the industry will have to shift from a voluntary code to something that is legally enforceable.

(F)Solatium Fund

  1. The 1988 Act already has a Solatium Fund for victims of hit-and-run accidents, but the new Bill has also provided for another Fund.
  2. Earlier, the Bill said that the Fund would be credited with a cess or a tax, but that provision has now been removed, and instead the money will come either from the government, or from a grant or loan.
  3. The old Act provided ₹12,000 for grievous injury and ₹25,000 for death, while the amendment Bill provides ₹50,000 for grievous injury and ₹2 lakh or more for death.
Apr, 17, 2018

UN launches road safety trust fund

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Road Safety Trust FundUN Economic Commission for Europe, Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, Sustainable Development Goals

Mains level: Rising road accidents and measures to curb them


News

Ensuring road safety

  1. The United Nations took a major step to address the tragedy of road accidents by launching the UN Road Safety Trust Fund
  2. This is to spur action that could save lives and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents

About the fund

  1. The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will be the secretariat for the trust fund
  2. The trust fund will support efforts along the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety
  3. Period 2011-2020 has been designated as the Decade of Action for Road Safety

SDGs and road safety

  1. Two Sustainable Development Goals targets deal specifically with road safety
  2. They aim to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  3. Another target aims  to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems as well as improve road safety for all
Jan, 24, 2018

[op-ed snap] Making our roads safe

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: The Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety

Mains level: The newscard comprehensively discusses the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Very crucial for road safety in India.


News

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill

  1. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2017
  2. If passed by the Rajya Sabha, it will be the first of its kind to extensively reform existing legislation on road safety, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

Why is this bill important?

  1. The Amendment Bill is robust and rectifies several systemic issues by providing for a uniform driver licensing system, protection of children and vulnerable road users, rationalising penalties, and much more
  2. The Bill also proposes to introduce digitisation in the monitoring and enforcement of traffic laws

The WHO on road safety

  1. For effective road safety management, it is imperative to have an institutionalised and sustainable data system
  2. This includes information pertaining to drivers, such as types of licences held and a record of violation of traffic laws
    India’s position
  3. The driver licensing system in India controls and filters the number and quality of drivers on the road
  4. Currently, the procedure is largely manual, while the number of licences issued per year is over a crore
  5. The inefficiencies of a predominantly manual system, given the scale of licences issued every year, results in lakhs of licences being issued without the prescribed checks and balance
  6. The Bill addresses each of these challenges by introducing technology in the licensing procedure

Main focus

  1. Since 2008, in India, over 55,000 children have lost their lives in road accidents. In 2016 alone
  2. In 2016 alone, 7% of road crash deaths were attributed to children below 18 years
  3. The WHO asserts that using child-restraint systems in vehicles decreases the risk of death in a crash
    Important provision of the bill for children
  4. The Bill proposes to mandate the use of protective headgear by every person above the age of four driving, riding or being carried on a two-wheeler
  5. Similarly, the Bill mandates the use of safety belts and child restraints for those under 14 years and introduces a fine of Rs. 1,000 for the driver or guardian for the violation of the same

Bill promises to rationalise penalities

  1. For decades, penalties for behaviour that results in fatalities and grievous injuries have remained minimal, largely unrevised
  2. The bill promises to tackle this issue
  3. For instance, the penalty for drunk driving has been increased to Rs. 10,000 for the first offence and Rs. 15,000 for the subsequent one

The way forward

  1. As a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, India has committed to reducing(by 2020), the number of road crash fatalities and serious injuries by 50%
  2. This will be impossible to achieve if the sole statute governing road safety in India, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is not overhauled
  3. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, will serve as the first and most essential step towards fulfilling this vision

Back2basics

The Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety

  1. Participants from across the world committed to improve road safety as part of the Brasilia Declaration, which called out for stringent traffic laws to prevent accidents
  2. The Brasilia Declaration, adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil, lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
  3. In the declaration, participants reasserted their commitment to reduce the deaths caused due to traffic accidents to half by the year 2020. This target was set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  4. Citing its importance for traffic safety, the declaration promotes sustainable commuting ways and prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
  5. It recommends “implementation and enforcement of policies and measures to protect and promote, in an active way, pedestrian safety and cyclists’ mobility, such as sidewalks, bike paths and bike lanes, proper lighting, radars with cameras, signalling and road marking”.
Sep, 10, 2016

Govt to make rear view sensors mandatory in all cars soon

  1. Aim: To avoid mishaps
  2. Even though cars come equipped with rear view mirrors which are adequate for looking at vehicles behind, they are inadequate in detecting small children or objects close to the ground, falling in car’s blind spot
Jun, 11, 2016

Center's response on the increasing road accidents

  1. The Centre has decided to form a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board
  2. Purpose: To advise on rules and regulations, road safety and road engineering
  3. Arrangement: Five or six members with expertise in road engineering, road safety, automobile manufacturing, traffic and trauma care
  4. The body is likely to be chaired by a former Road Transport Secretary
May, 26, 2016

Panel suggests heavy penalty for minor drivers, traffic violations

  1. Context: Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has recommended heavy penalty for violation of traffic rules
  2. Aim: To curb road mishaps and deaths, to improve road safety
  3. Measures: To set up a dedicated force for traffic management on national highways, provisions in the statute and traffic rules for pedestrians and non-mechanised vehicles
  4. Penalty: Heavy penalty for minor drivers, cancellation of driving licence for two years for violation of rules or serious nature crimes
Jan, 15, 2016

Centre to set up road safety regulator

  1. Govt. will expedite the proposal for setting up a National Road Safety Authority.
  2. The proposed authority will prescribe minimum safety standards for vehicles, roads and drivers.
  3. The Centre will also open up 3,000 training, fitness and pollution centres to train drivers.
  4. The Centre will also push automobile companies to introduce airbags in economy cars.
  5. Further, the govt. will ask states to conduct safety audits of state highways and district roads.
  6. Around 1.5 lakh people are killed in road accidents every year and the govt wants to reduce the fatalities by half.
Jan, 12, 2016

Rs. 11,000 cr. for road safety

  1. The govt. unveiled a concerted action plan to reduce road accidents by half.
  2. It has mandated safety air bags in all passenger vehicles.
  3. Centre would spend Rs.11,000 crore in the next five years to fix 726 black spots identified on National Highways.
  4. Black spots are locations that have a record of a large number of accidents.
  5. A strict driving licensing system would be put in place as around 30% of the licences in the country were bogus.
Oct, 20, 2015

More than 1 million across the world die each year in road accidents, says WHO

Europe, in particular the region’s wealthier countries, has the lowest death rates per capita, Africa the highest.

  1. WHO’s global status report on road safety 2015.
  2. Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death globally, particularly poor people in poor countries.
  3. A big gap still separates high-income countries from low and middle-income ones, 90 percent of road traffic deaths occur.
  4. Factors which reduces number of road traffic deaths are improving legislation, enforcement, and making roads and vehicles safer.
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