Ahead Of The Crucial Meeting Consumer Voice Urges Parliamentarty Standing Committee To Bring Strong Motors Vehicles (Amendment) Bill

Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Transport, Culture and Tourism to be held on 3rd and 4th November, 2016, Consumer Voice has written a letter to the PSC members urging them to strengthen the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.

New Delhi, Delhi, November 2, 2016 /India PRwire/ -- Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Transport, Culture and Tourism to be held on 3rd and 4th November, 2016, Consumer Voice has written a letter to the PSC members urging them to strengthen the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill. Over 13 lakh people have been killed in road accidents in India in the past decade, of which 1.46 lakh people were killed in 2015 alone, this Bill with key provisions further strengthened will prove to be critical in addressing this epidemic. This is a crucial step towards achieving the target to reduce road crash fatalities by 50% by 2020 as committed by the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari, at the Brasilia Conference on Road Safety in 2015.

Consumer Voice has suggested the following measures to improve the Bill besides what has already been proposed by MoRTH & EGoM:

- Mandatory use of child restraint systems

We propose mandatory use of child restraints for children rather than the option of seat belts OR child restraints as currently mentioned in the bill. Define what

Constitutes a child restraint, for example by referring to international standards. Require child restraints for children up to a specific weight and/or height rather than an age.Children in an appropriate restraint for their size and weight are significantly less likely to be killed or injured than unrestrained children. Rear-facing restraints for children aged 0 to 23 months have been shown to reduce the risk of death or injury by over 90% and forward facing child restraints by almost 80% compared to being unrestrained[i]

- Protection of children under 4 years riding on two wheelers

The issue of commute of children on two wheelers needs to be discussed in depth. Given our socio cultural and economic norms two wheelers are usually used to transport young children which are placed in the front or in between two adults without any protective headgear. Hence we either propose that children under 4 years should not be allowed on two wheelers or propose appropriate headgears during their commute. Motorcycle helmets are a proven way to decrease deaths and disabilities. The use of a quality standard helmet decreases the risk of injuries by 69%, and deaths by 42%[ii].

- Rationalization of penalties for life threatening offences

With increase in inflation prices of all commodities are on the rise. In such circumstances holding on to a Rs. 100 fee for violation is not warranted. Hence we must uphold the stringent penalties proposed in the bill especially for life threatening offences.

- Blood Alcohol content regulation for new drivers

Reduce BAC levels for novice or young drives to 20 mg per 100 ml in order to meet WHO best practices. Laws that establish lower BAC limits (≤0.02 g/dl) for novice or young drivers can lead to reductions in the number of crashes involving young people of up to 24%[iii]. We also propose permission of random stops for testing sobriety and make post-crash testing for alcohol or for breaches of other traffic offenses mandatory rather than optional.

- Scientific investigation of road crashes

A holistic approach of understanding the cause of crash taking into account driver faults, road conditions as well as any other external causes for crashes is important to further our understanding on road safety. Such scientific data can then be put to use for designing corrective measures. Improvising the current data collection form is another suggestion.

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