August 10, 2020 | 8:13 AM IST
motor vehicle act 2019

MVA (Amended) 2019: A monster or a deterrent

A two-wheeler commuter in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Vinita Shah saw the difference on the road when Motor Vehicle Act (Amended) 2019 came into force on September 1. September 1 was a Sunday so there was not much she could witness. Above all, the news of the Congress-led government in the state opposing the penalty hike had not reached her. She learned it on Monday morning from the local newspaper. When she arrived at the first ‘T’ signal she smiled from within her new helmet seeing SUVs, bikes, etc all standing within the zebra crossing line, patiently waiting for the signal to go green - ‘fear sets them all’- she thought.
The following morning at the same signal she saw bikers and motorists zooming and crisscrossing – probably they had read the news too.

Barring certain states, the act came into force in the entire country from September 1. The 63 clauses have been introduced with the intention to ensure the safety of commuters. And though netizens are coming up with some of the best memes and jokes on it, union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari’s attempt has had its effect already. Violators are being penalised with hefty sums and can even serve a jail term for certain violations, but the minister is looking ahead at a time when ‘no one gets penalised and everyone follows the rules’.
True enough. What Vinita saw on Monday morning was a ‘deterrant’ with an assurance that the number of road deaths will come down drastically. We even saw a steep dip in Delhi’s challans – from 20,000 to 3,900.

Going by the government’s statistics, there are about 5 lakh accidents and 1.5 lakh accidental road deaths. About 65 percent of those who die are between the age group of 18 to 35 years. So, another way to look at it is that the Indian youth is dying on the road and not while doing something that could bring pride to their homes or nation. Gadkari is right when he asks ‘Shouldn’t we save lives?
“If people don’t respect or fear the law, that is not a good place to be in,” he said recently.
It may also be noted that the ministry is not just tightening the noose around the commuter’s neck it is also taking responsibility of making safer roads. A road safety board is soon being set up and Rs 14,000 crore assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank has been sought to fix up the black-spots. Similarly, steps are being initiated to deal with vehicular pollution by the ministry.
Meanwhile, the RTO offices are being flooded with persons wanting to update their vehicle credentials. There is a beeline to renew expired licences, get PUCs and more. The officers are claiming they do not have enough staff to attend to the number of persons thronging the RTO.
So, let us not politicise road safety and the newly introduced norms.
Probably, all the ministry is asking for is to be’ responsible towards our own lives and then towards others’’.

Editor In Chief

Editor In Chief is an publisher and journalist. He is regular columnist of the website NewsInInd. He is experienced in national and political issues with more than 500 blogs.