The amended Motor Vehicle Act has come into force from 1 September but the Bengal government has decided not to implement it. On 5 August, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019, was passed by Parliament and it became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his approval on 9 August. The new Bill focuses on increasing penalty for traffic violations to reduce number of road accident cases in India.

“We are not implementing the Act. Our officials feel that the recent amendments that have been made are quite harsh and it will overburden us if it is implemented. Moreover, we have successfully taken up a special drive ~ Safe Drive Save Life ~ to check accidents and rash driving,” said Miss Banerjee at Nabanna today. A senior official of Nabanna said that the state government’s primary concern is over the exorbitant hikes in the penalty charges for violation of motor vehicle rules.

“After examination, it has been revealed that in case of some violations, the hike is so high that it will be difficult for people to pay the penalties. Again, the car manufacturing company has been given the power of giving fitness certificate. As a manufacturer always declares its vehicle fit, the step is illogical. There should be a third party involvement in giving fitness certificate.” “We all are concerned about road safety but that has to be implemented in a proper way and after taking into account the convenience of all stakeholders,” he added. According to sources in the state secretariat, the Bengal government will follow only those norms which are ‘mandatory’ and has sought legal opinion from the Advocate General of Bengal.

Under the new Motor Vehicles Act, for drunk driving the minimum fine has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 while for rash driving the penalty has been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000. Again, driving without a license will now attract a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 (presently it is Rs 500), over-speeding penalty has been increased from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 – 2,000. Fine for not wearing seat belt would attract a fine of Rs 1,000 as against Rs 100 at present.