Drunk Driving Can Cost You as Much as 6,000
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11 December 2010
By Sanjeev Shivadekar
Bill Increasing Traffic Penalties Passed, Pending Prez’s Approval
The Maharashtra legislature on Friday passed a Bill effecting a threefold increase in fines for traffic violations. The hike covers all offences, including rash driving and road rage.
"Once the Bill is approved by the President (a formality), the law will come into effect in Maharashtra," said minister of state for transport Gulabrao Devkar.
Drunk driving will hurt in particular. At present, the fine for the offence is Rs 2,000, which is set to become Rs 6,000. Lane cutting will be very dear too, especially for cabbies; from Rs 100–500, the range of the fine will go up to Rs 300–1,500.
The motivation for the Bill was a rise in recent years in road accidents due to negligent driving. The Bill seeks an amendment in sections 177–183 of the MVA. The state government’s road accident statistics show: 11,804 deaths, 76,601 accidents in 2007; 12,397 deaths, 75,527 accidents in 2008; 11,396 deaths, 71,594 accidents in 2009.
The Bill was formulated after a public outcry against the fatalities. At the time, then chief minister Ashok Chavan said the amendments in the MVA would make motorists think twice before violating traffic rules. He said the Bill will help improve traffic discipline and reduce road accidents.
A senior official in the transport department said that when the Bill was discussed in the cabinet, an increase in prison terms for road rage and rash driving was stipulated. But in its approved form, the Bill does not mention any increase in jail terms.
The cabinet had given its consent for making such violations non–compoundable offences, which means a violator cannot be set free by the police after an on–the–spot collection of fine, and must be produced before a magistrate’s court; the judge has the discretion to impose a penalty, a prison sentence or both.