India has just 1% of the world’s vehicles but accounts for 10% of all road crash deaths.
These staggering figures compelled the Supreme Court of India in August 2013 to call the problem of road crashes in India a National Emergency. The existing Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, an imperial legislation, has proved to be inadequate in addressing the systemic challenges plaguing the road transport sector and has failed to ensure road safety for the people of India.
Road traffic in India currently operates within the legal framework established in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. While the Act was enacted at a time when the growth in India’s road transport sector could not have been envisaged, it has only been moderately amended in the last 28 years with complete disregard to safety and rationalisation of penalties. The Act, has proved to be inadequate in addressing the systemic challenges plaguing the road transport sector and has failed to ensure road safety for the people of India.
The sudden demise of Mr. Gopinath Munde, Union Minister for Rural Development, in a road crash in New Delhi on June 3, 2014 prompted the then newly elected government into promising new legislation with strong provisions for road safety, which would repeal the inadequate law currently in existence.
A comprehensive bill was indeed drafted but was not introduced in the Parliament due to the stiff opposition it received from some States and other stakeholders with regard to provisions on taxation, public transport and the setting up of lead authorities. This prompted the Government to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to give recommendations on road safety. Following a major campaign led by SaveLIFE Foundation including written appeals from Members of Parliament to the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the Government of India introduced the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Parliament on August 9, 2016, to address the issue of road safety in India.
10-point Policy Solution
The vision of SLF’s 10 point policy solution is to provide a framework for a road safety law in India that protects all classes of road users including children, the elderly, pedestrians and non-motorised road users.
Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) and Non-motorised Transport (NMT)
Protection of children during commute
Robust and scientific Accident Investigation and Data Management
Stringent punishment for faulty road design and engineering
Transparent, centralised and efficient driver licensing system
Mandatory driver training
Strict regulation of Heavy Motor Vehicles
Stringent punishment for drunk-driving and overspeeding
Stringent punishment for violation of helmet and seat-belt laws
National Lead Agency
ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT BILL
The COLORS Alliance
COLORS (Coalition for Road Safety) is a collective of Indian NGOs and spirited members of the community working cohesively towards bringing significant changes around Road Safety in India. An initiative by SaveLIFE Foundation, COLORS presents a unified voice to spread awareness about the epidemic of road accidents in India, which, in the last decade alone, have killed over 13 lakh people and seriously injured or permanently disabled over 50 lakh people across the country. COLORS members may or may not be doing direct work in the area of road safety but they have a strong interest in the issue due to its impact on their stakeholders or in some cases, even on their operations.