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Transportation laws are the laws which deals with the transport and vehicles. It ensures the safety of people by regulating the transport and vehicles. Transportation laws in India are mainly governed by the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 and various state rules. The Act is regulated at the two levels i.e, State and Central Levels.


The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 which governs the transportation laws came into from 1 July 1989, by replacing many other acts. It replaced Motor Vehicles Act 1939, which earlier replaced the first enactment of Motor Vehicles Act 1914. The Motor Vehicles Act was passed in the 1988 by Parliament of India. It regulates and controls almost all the aspects of road transport vehicles. It provides detailed provision on licensing of the drivers and conductors, registration of motor vehicles, the provision on controlling their permits , traffic regulation , related insurance, liabilities and penalties .

Objectives of Motor Vehicles Act 1988:

Objectives of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 are as follows-

  1. The law takes care of the increasing number of both commercial vehicles and personal vehicles in the country at a faster rate.

  2. Administration of the Solatium Scheme by the General Insurance Corporation.

  3. It also provides effective ways of tracking down traffic offenders.

  4. It makes stricter procedures relating to grant of driving licenses and the period of validity thereof.

  5. It provides adequate compensation to victims of road accidents without going into long drawn procedure.

  6. It removes time limit for filing of application by road accident victims for compensation.

  7. Provision for payment of compensation by the insurer to the extent of actual liability to the victims of motor accidents irrespective of the class of vehicles.

  8. It provides provision for enhanced compensation in cases of “no fault liability” and in hit and run motor accidents.

What is Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019?

The highest number of road accidents occur in India worldwide, according to the 2018 report of World Health Organization. We are ahead of the most populous country i.e, China in the cases of road accidents. As per the report of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 2017, there are about 5 lakh road accidents occurred in India every year in which around 1.5 lakh people are killed. So in order to prevent the increasing number of road accidents, the central government has amended the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 by the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019. This new bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 23, 2019 and by Rajya Sabha on July 31, 2019. The bill will provide an efficient, safe and corruption free transport system in the country.

The new act has been implemented throughout the country since 1 September, 2019. And the penalty has been increased 10 times on various violations .Let’s see the features of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Features of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

  1. Compensation for road accident victims: The bill increases the compensation for hit and run cases as follows: (i) in case of death , from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees, and (ii). In case of grievous injury, from Rs. 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

  2. Recall of vehicles: The New Bill allows the central government to order for recall of defected motor vehicles which may harm the environment, or the driver, or other road users.

  3. Offences and fines: The new bill has increases fines for several offence under the Act.

  4. Fine for Drink and Driving- Fine is increased from Rs. 2,000 to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment of 6 months. On the repetition of this act fine would be Rs. 15,000.

  5. Rash driving will cost fine of Rs. 5000 earlier it was Rs. 1000.

  6. Driving without driving license will be fined Rs 5000 instead of 500 earlier.

  7. Offences by Juveniles is a new category introduced. Now guardian of the Juvenile/ owner of the vehicle shall be fined Rs. 25,000 with 3 yrs imprisonment. For juvenile to be tried under Juveniles Justice Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle shall be cancelled.

  8. If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one year, or both.

  9. The penalty for contractor if he fails to comply with road design standards, will be up to Rs 1 lac.

  10. Under section 196 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019 driving without Insurance will be fined Rs 2000.


As the number of cases of road accidents is increasing at a faster rate. There was a need to make some changes in the Motor Vehicles Act , 1988 .Therefore the Motor Vehicles Bill, 2019 got introduced in Lok Sabha on 15th July 2019 by the Minister for Road and Transport and Highways , Mr Nitin Gadkari . On 5 August , 2019 the bill was passed In Lok Sabha after getting amended. The bill proposes standards for motor vehicles, penalties for violations of these provisions , and grant of licenses and permits related to motor vehicles. The bill has introduced many penalties so as to prevent increasing number of road accidents. The aim of this new act is to save the lives of many people. In Motor Vehicle Act there are 223 sections out of which 68 sections have been amended. It has also introduced 28 new sections. With the amendments, there has been a huge increase in penalties violating traffic rules. The increase in penalties is 5 to 10 times more than what it was in the previous act. Most of the states have implemented the Motor Vehicle Bill, 2019 from 1 September, 2019. But some of the states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, have not enforced the penalties. The amendment has been done to reduce the number of deaths caused due to road accidents every year

Written By Alisha Singh , Law Intern

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