A coalition of road safety organisations has urged the government to get the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill passed in the coming session of Parliament. The Bill seeks to make key amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, considered critical to improving the dismal road safety record in the country.

Despite being monitored closely by the Supreme Court, road fatalities decreased only by 3 per cent in 2017, far from the target of 50 per cent by 2020 set in accordance with the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety.

Road safety experts said that even with this slight reduction, around 1.46 lakh people still die on Indian roads every year, though each such death is preventable.

The Bill proposes hikes in the fines and the quantum of punishment for some of the serious violations of traffic rules and introduces new penal provisions for poor design and maintenance of roads.

Victims or survivors of road accidents — Ashutosh Soti, Kavita Tholiya, Kavita Chauhan, D K Sachdeva, Dorris Francis – described their personal agony of losing family members or getting seriously injured in road mishaps at media interaction on Wednesday organised at press club of India by national coalition of road safety organization and they appealed to parliamentarians for not politicising the issue since it is about saving lives.

A Rajya Sabha member and senior BJP leader, Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya, also came forward to supporting the initiative and strongly favoured the passage of the Bill.

Another Rajya Sabha MP and former Union Transport Minister, Oscar Fernandes, expressed the view that each and every life was important and it was crucial to get the Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha.

Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Office of Consumer VOICE, said that every road accident leaves an indelible scar on the family concerned as also the community, but such daily mishaps are making society numb and reducing these to just statistics.

Ranjit Gadgil of Pune-based Parisar told media persons that a severe injury or death in a poor family can leave them devastated, emotionally and economically.

Provisions in the Bill such as an increase in the compensation in hit-and-run fatalities from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh are long overdue, he added.