Forget fines, drunk driving could cost more

Forget fines, drunk driving could cost more

Too harsh? Now cheer up. The good news is that before you are thrown into a prison, the State government will have to convince the Centre to effect an amendment to the 1988 Central Motor Vehicles Act which stipulates imposing a fine and no more. That may take some time.

The push for harsher drunken-driving penalties is at the behest of the Transport Department which will soon move a set of proposals to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, seeking key amendments to the Act so that motorists behave responsibly.

The amendments have been suggested by an expert committee comprising transport commissioners of six states. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will examine these amendments and forward them to the Law Ministry for implementation.
The proposals include doing away with the present system of fines and making simple imprisonment mandatory for tipplers. The fines are payable in court and once the offender is served a challan on the spot.

Transport and Road Safety Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told Deccan Herald that imposing a fine of a maximum of Rs 2,000 was “lenient to say the least”. The objective is to significantly toughen penalties for drunken driving. So, those found driving in a drunken state would not only have to serve time in jail but also cough up fine.

The proposed amendment also seeks to empower the department to order suspension of the driving licence for a fixed term after the first offence. The  Act also states that the offender involved in a drunken driving case for a second time (within three years of the first) has to pay up to a maximum of Rs 3,000 or serve a six-month simple imprisonment.

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