Cities & Architecture

Traffic Violators to Face Three-Month Suspension of Driving License

If you jump a traffic light, speed or drive while using your mobile phone, beware, you might soon end up having your license suspended

Eating, Phoning, Driving. Credit: Benjamin Vander Steen, CC BY 2.0.

Eating, Phoning, Driving. Credit: Benjamin Vander Steen, CC BY 2.0.

New Delhi: Motorists will no longer be able to get away with mere payment of fines for traffic violations like speeding, jumping a traffic light and using a mobile phone while driving. A special panel set up by the Supreme Court of India to monitor and measure implementation of road safety laws in the country has decreed that drivers guilty of these everyday offences should have their licenses suspended.  And where motoring offences are more serious, it has asked the government to ensure the imprisonment of traffic violators under relevant provisions of the law.

The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan has held that unless strong and urgent measures are taken to deal with speeding, drunken driving, red light jumping, violation of helmet laws and seat belt laws, the use of mobile phones while driving, and over loading, the number of accidents and fatalities will continue to remain high.

It has therefore asked the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories to take “stern action against the violators of the law and exercise discretion under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 read with Rule 21 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 by passing an order disqualifying the offender from holding a driving license for a specified period and also by seeking imprisonment wherever it is provided under the law.”

The committee has issued specific instructions to all states and UTs  and their concerned departments to suspend the licence of a driver for a period of not less than 3 months under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 read with Rule 21 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 for driving at a speed exceeding the specified limit, which in the Committee’s view would also include red light jumping; carrying overload in goods carriages and carrying persons in goods carriages; driving vehicles under the influence of drink and drugs; and using mobile phone while driving a vehicle.

The panel has also directed that in case of driving a vehicle under the influence of drinks or drugs, the police should prosecute the offender and seek imprisonment as prescribed under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988—even for the first offence.

It has also directed that helmet laws be made applicable all over the country both for main and pillion riders. In case the helmet law  is violated by either the main rider or the pillion rider, they should both be subject to Road Safety Education and Counselling for not less than 2 hours before imposition of a fine as prescribed under the Act.

Similarly, it said, those who violate the seat belt law should also be subject to Road Safety Education and Counselling before imposition of a fine as mentioned above.

The committee has also directed the States and UTs to submit Action Taken Reports at the end of every three months, beginning September 1, 2015.

The panel earlier held detailed discussions with the relevant Central ministries and all States and UTs on the trend of road accidents and fatalities. It noted from the data that the number of fatalities in India continues to be very high, causing serious emotional trauma and economic loss to the families of the deceased and to society. As a consequence, the compensation awarded to accident victims by insurance companies also ran into hundreds of crores of rupees every year.

While over the last year, the committee issued directions for the establishment of institutional arrangements to promote road safety, undertake engineering measures to make roads safe, tighten enforcement together with promoting road safety education and establishing adequate trauma care facilities, it decided to spell out specific punishments to deal with traffic violators as a detailed analysis revealed that “unless strong and urgent measures are taken to deal with over speeding, drunken driving, red light jumping, violation of helmet laws and seat belt laws, use of mobile phones while driving, and over loading, the number of accidents and fatalities will continue to remain high”.

The Supreme Court, while constituting the committee, had also emphasised the necessity of strict and faithful enforcement of all existing laws and norms not only as an absolute principle of law but for the salutary effect this would have all around.

  • Ess Arc

    While it a welcome move, this thing needs to be looked at with some real perspective. Sure, go ahead and fine the public and suspend their licences for 3-,6,9 or even 12 months. But, it has to be done under the conditions of providing good quality roads, roads that do not disintegrate after a few days of rain, proper lanes with markings, working traffic signals, transparent payment of fines which will discourage corrupt practices by traffic cops, transparent and strict issuance of driving licenses.

    Give us world class infrastructure before imposing world class rules.

  • Meenal Mamdani

    Again the courts have had to step in the executive area to assure the safety of citizens and reduce the very high accident rate per vehicle in India.

    In addition to the penalties mentioned in the article, another deterrent would be raising insurance rates for drivers who get into accidents or break rules repeatedly. This is done in USA and the higher costs to the individual or the company that employs the driver make the payer very risk averse and clamp down on risky driving.

    Laws will have to be implemented strictly and we need exclusive traffic courts to handle the large volume of cases expeditiously. In USA, the person caught breaking a traffic law has the option of admitting to the offence and paying the fine online. If she/he chooses to contest the traffic ticket, then one can go to the traffic court to plead before the judge along with the policeman who has issued the ticket. In both cases the offence is recorded in the computer against his driving license, so that next time he commits another offence, the computer also automatically pulls up the previous one.

    In India it is common for teenagers who are underage to drive a two wheeler and occasionally even a 4 wheeler with the knowledge and consent of their parents. In such a case, the full penalty should be levied against the parent with an additional penalty for failing parental duties.

  • Vinay Tandon

    The stricter you make these regulations, with other things remaining unchanged, the more you generate corruption. Why don’t we also make a law that if a policeman is caught taking a bribe (which is an every second / minute affair in our country), he will be dismissed from service? Of course the problem again would be who will enforce such a law? But certainly not comrades-in-arms! The problem is not so much with laws as it is with implementation which generally is the responsibility of the corrupt, elected or otherwise.

  • Sande Goyal

    Well my cab driver licence suspended for Red light jumped ,oficer demand Rs.1100/- in return not to make challan driver is not aware about this rule and submit his license , I feel this rule is ridiculous ,if any seniour read my this article please answer me
    1) how he (driver) can survive his family up to 3 months?
    2) is this is not clear curruption increases on these rules?

    Is government have prompt new slogen “garibi nahi garibo ko hatao “.

    Really fed up

  • Mohinder Kumar

    I was Coming from Airport My car speed 70 and speed Limit was 50 there. My licence suspended for three month. I m doing Driving job in a Korean Company. When i Reach office i told all incident to my boss, My boss clearly said get your licence back with in 2 two any how otherwise find another Job. As i Know i cant get my licence so i lost my job almost. Now my mind is not working what to do. My concern is if it is like that how other driver will survive everybody make mistake. And it was my first chalan.