NEW DELHI : Ninety-six per cent of Indians want the Motor Vehicle Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to be passed in the ongoing parliamentary session. They also believe the move will help meet the UN mandate to reduce road accidents up to 50 per cent by 2020, said a survey on Sunday.
The survey, conducted across 10 states to seek the opinion of the citizens on the pending bill, also found that 97 per cent people feel that the bill should be supported by all the parties since it is important to bring down fatalities due to road accidents, currently at 1.46 lakh annually -- the highest in the world.
The survey was conducted by Consumer Voice, an organisation involved in policy making and complaints redressal. The Motor Vehicle Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was tabled on April 7 in the Lok Sabha.
The changes in act were approved by the Union cabinet on March 31, 2017, proposing hefty penalties for various traffic offences, three-year jail terms for parents of minors caught driving and causing fatal accidents and a ten-fold increase in compensation for families of accident victims.
"Every year, thousands of citizens get injured or killed on Indian roads due to poor roads and a weak road safety law in India. A tough law is needed to bring down 50 per cent of the road traffic accidents by 2020, a commitment India made by adopting the Brasilia Declaration for Road Safety," said Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer of Consumer Voice.
Sanyal said the bill needs more clarity on child safety and drink driving provisions besides introduction of provision related to notorious driver punishment.
"The central authority created should have powers to adjudicate matters related to road safety and transportation rather than being an advisory body," said Sanyal.
The survey reported that 95 per cent people consider child safety an important aspect of the bill and approximately 98 per cent people believe that helmet wearing provisions should be included for all the two-wheelers riders, especially children.
"90 per cent of the people want that alcohol testing level should be more stringent to help in preventing road accidents. Moreover, 87 per cent people expect that high penalties must be levied to enforce better road discipline," said the survey.
Currently, the bill tabled in the Lok Sabha provides for stringent penalties, including jail term and fines for drunk driving, over speeding, jumping traffic light and non-wearing of seat belts and helmets.
The guardians of juvenile offenders will also be deemed guilty and will be liable to pay a fine and serve imprisonment for three years. The fines pertaining to traffic offences will increase by 10 per cent annually.
Terming it crucial, a team of parliamentarians who included K.T.S Tulsi and Oscar Fernandes, former Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, extended support to the survey and sought the passage of the bill in the ongoing budget session of Parliament.
"We are all aware that this bill is crucial, that will be affecting lives of all the citizens, either as a motorists or pedestrians, and it should be passed without further delay," said Fernandes.