No plan to slash traffic fines in Karnataka: Savadi

No plan to slash traffic fines in Karnataka: Savadi

Deputy CM Ashwath Narayan defends fine, says road safety is important

Laxman Savadi

Karnataka has no plans of slashing the hefty fine amounts stipulated in the new Motor Vehicles Act passed by the Parliament recently, even as the BJP-ruled Gujarat reduced the penalties in the face of public criticism. 

“As of now, there is no proposal before the government to reduce the fine amounts,” Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is in charge of the Transport department, told DH. 

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the Parliament in July, and the steep fines for traffic rules violations came into effect from September 1. Fines for offences have gone up ten times. For example, those caught engaged in racing without permission have to pay Rs 5,000 for the first offence and Rs 10,000 subsequently, riding without a helmet will cost Rs 1,000, use of horns in silent zones will attract Rs 1,000 and drunken driving will be penalized with Rs 10,000 fine. 

Gujarat has decided to reduce the fine amounts saying whatever was suggested under the new Act was just the maximum that can be imposed. 

Citizens have been frowning upon the hefty fines, with some arguing that the government should provide good road infrastructure first. 

Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan, however, defended the hefty fines. “There is resistance, but road safety is important. Driving without a licence, a helmet, insurance, using mobile phone...whose safety is at stake? People should feel the pinch with steep fines. Otherwise, there won’t be a deterrent. I appeal with people to cooperate,” he said. 

“At the same time,” Narayan said, “we don’t want people to pay fines without providing the right infrastructure. The government is committed to making our roads safer by fixing infrastructure issues, including parking.”

Karnataka notified the new fine amounts on September 3. In a week's span, the Bengaluru traffic police have booked 6,813 cases, raking in Rs 72 lakh in fines.