Personal Finance

Motor Vehicles Act 2019: Some citizen-friendly moves

Parvatha Vardhini C | Updated on September 15, 2019 Published on September 15, 2019

There is more to the new Motor Vehicles Act than steep fines

From September 1, many States have implemented the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. What has been hogging the limelight is the imposition of higher fines for various offences. But apart from this, there are several moves in the new legislation that make life easier for us on the roads. Here’s a lowdown on what’s bettered under the Act.

Help for accident victims

Apart from ensuring adherence to rules by imposing fines, the Act makes it easy for accident victims to get help. Three citizen-friendly moves have been mooted in this regard — immunity for ‘good samaritans’, cashless treatment during ‘golden hour’ and higher compensation for hit-and-run cases.

Generally, we hesitate to go to the rescue of accident victims due to fear of harassment. Now, we don’t have to fear. The new Act provides immunity to ‘good samaritans’ from any civil or criminal liability for any injury or death caused to the victim due to their action or inaction while rendering emergency assistance. The Centre will also develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during ‘golden hour’. Golden hour is defined as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.

For hit-and-run cases, the Act increases the minimum compensation from ₹25,000 to ₹2 lakh in case of death and from ₹12,500 to ₹50,000 in case of grievous injury. To act as a compulsory insurance cover of sorts for all road users, fund the treatment during golden hour and pay the compensation for hit and run cases, a ‘Motor Vehicle Accident Fund’ is being set up.

Better insurance benefits

Hike in penalty for uninsured vehicles is not the only move under the new Act that is noteworthy. What is equally important is that the minimum compensation to be paid to the victim by the vehicle owner or the insurer has been enhanced. Earlier, when death or permanent disability arose from any accident, a compensation of ₹50,000 (for death) and ₹25,000 (for permanent disability) had to be paid (without the need for the claimant to establish that death or grievous hurt was caused due to neglect/fault of the vehicle owner/vehicle or any other person). Now, the compensation for death has been enhanced to ₹5 lakh and for grievous injury, to ₹2.5 lakh. There is no upper limit on the liability of the insurer though.

The claims process has also been simplified. Says, Sajja Praveen Chowdary, Business Head, Motor Insurance, Policybazaar.com, “Now, the insurer can appoint an officer to make an offer to the beneficiary. If it is accepted, the same should be informed/recorded in the tribunal (that is, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal) and settled within 30 days. This can help in faster settlement of claims as waiting for the tribunal hearings may take time”. Thus, if you are willing to go for an out-of-court settlement, your claim can be settled in a month.

Hassle free services

The Act also aims to provide hassle-free services for citizens. Through repositories such as ‘Vahan’ and ‘Sarathy’, mandatory information on vehicles and ownership as well as road transport-related services are gradually being moved online. With ‘Vahan’, multiple visits to the RTO, extensive paperwork, queues, middlemen and bribes could become a thing of the past. Vahan helps carry out most of the RTO-related transactions, including payments, online.

Transfer of ownership, change of address, issue and renewal of permits and fitness certificates, payment of road taxes are available at the click of a mouse. Under ‘Sarathy’, all driving licence-related services are available online in most States. For instance, application for licence, submission of documents, booking of slots for test, renewal/name change in licence, issue of duplicate licence and payment of fee for all services can all be done.

Published on September 15, 2019
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