New Delhi December 22, 2018 Parliamentarians and road safety experts have called for early enactment of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, 2017 that aims to usher in far-reaching reforms in the transport sector. The  Motor Vehicle  bill, which would amend the nearly 30-year old Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, was passed by the Lok Sabha last year but the Rajya Sabha referred it to a 24-member Select Committee for security and is yet to be cleared and enacted.

“ We are all for early passage and enactment of the amended bill in the current session of the parliament, but the Rajya Sabha is not being allowed to function by various parties, However it is the individual citizen  whose interest should be foremost rather than a squabble over federalism. The Act is a movement in the right direction. It’s a positive move for the industry and is tilted in favour of passenger and road safety.” Said Mr Majeed Memon, Member of Parliament (MP) National Congress Party (NCP) at a two day seminar ‘ Road Safety legislation  an multisectoral Action’ organised jointly by World Health Organisation (WHO) , NITI Aayog, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) and Ministry of Health & Family welfare, which conclude late last evening.

“Some of the major causes of road accidents in the country are over speeding, road engineering defects, potholes, drunk driving followed by over-loading. The bill aims at bringing radical reforms in the transport sector, ranging from hefty fines for traffic rules violations to improving the licensing system and checking bogus licences. The Accident  black spots on roads should also be removed immediately ” Said Mr Husain Dalwal, Member of Parliament (MP) Indian National Congress (INC) while speaking on the occasion.

“ We all are for early passage of the bill as road safety is right of every individual but concerns of states, transport unions and other stakeholders with regard to the Bill have to be taken in as it has to be inclusive in nature. We should not have a feeling that amended Bill is not an attempt to help the corporate world because it is corrupt dealers who will get to benefit under the new Act. Our protest is not politically motivated or in favour of RTOs. Current provisions will open a flood gate of corruption.” Said Javed Ali Khan, MP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Member of select committee on Transport speaking on the occasion.

“Given that Indian roads witness over 500,000 road accidents each year resulting in about 147,000 fatalities, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill is an important step towards strengthening the legal framework for improving road safety in India. The passage of  Bill will help close major gaps in the legislative framework that governs road safety in the country. India, as a signatory to the United Nations  Brasilia Declaration, is committed to  reducing road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020”, said Mr K K Kapila, Chairman, International Road Federation (IRF) A global body working for better and safer roads world wide speaking on the occasion.

“We urge the parliamnetarians to pass the bill in the current session of parliament as we fear it may lapse if not enacted” Mr Kapila said.

 In her opening remarks, Dr Payden, Deputy WHO Representative to India, drew attention to the disturbing reality of road crashes, which is one of the top 10 leading killers for all age groups. She shared Government of India statistics indicating that road traffic injuries are among the top four leading causes of death and health loss among persons of age group 15-49 years.

Dr Fikru Tullu, Team Lead for NCDs, WHO India Stressing on the need to achieve SDG 2030 agenda, with respect to specific targets related to road safety said, “There is enough global experience to emphasise that most positive changes to road user behaviour happen when road safety legislation is supported by strong and sustained enforcement, and where the public is made aware of the reasons behind the new law and the consequences of non-compliance.I am hopeful of passage of Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill in Upper House during the coming Parliament session,” he added.

Cuts A rioad safety NGO director George Cheriyan said India has only 2 per cent population of the world but it accounts for 10 per cent of road accidents.