‘Issue ordinance to avoid lapse of Road Safety Bill’

Sunday, 17 February 2019

NGO writes to Gadkari over Motor Vehicles Amendment bill’s current status

PUNE: A day after the end of the Budget session of Parliament, the Road Safety Network has written to the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, to issue an Ordinance on Road Safety. The national coalition of road safety organisations has demanded extraordinary measure ahead of dissolution of Lok Sabha and the impending lapse of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill, the road safety legislation pending in Parliament since 2017.

Ranjit Gadgil, Program Coordinator of city-based NGO Parisar, said, “The Transport Minister committed to bring a strong road safety law following the demise of Gopinath Munde in a road crash in 2014. Since his efforts in Parliament to pass the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill have not been successful, we urge the Minister to issue an Ordinance in the interim on this important issue.”

The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2017, which sought to carry out the much-required overhaul of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, had received the assent of the Lok Sabha on April 10, 2017 and was introduced for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha in the Winter Session of 2017. However, after the failure to get the Bill passed and the country looking at imminent lapse of the Bill, the network urged the Government to take the extraordinary measure of issuing an ordinance in order to save lives.

India has the dubious distinction of being world number one in road deaths. Every year, nearly 1.5 lakh people are killed in road accidents and another five lakh are severely injured, many of them disabled for life. The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2017, was aimed at tackling this pandemic by strengthening the Road Safety policy framework in the country through introduction of various provisions related to road safety such as stricter penalties for egregious violations and the ability to hold road contractors liable for defective designs and poor maintenance of roads.

India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, where it  made a commitment to reduce road accident deaths by 50 per cent by 2020. The deadline is fast approaching, and India is nowhere close to meeting the target. In order to save lives, India must urgently update and modernise its road safety legislation. An Ordinance in the interim will be a strong step in that direction, said the statement by Parisar.

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