Kerala may slash new traffic fines by half

Kerala may slash new traffic fines by half
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is moving to reduce the steep fines for traffic violations under the new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act after dithering over the issue despite public resentment.

A decision will be taken during a meeting called by the Transport Minister on Monday once the state government gets clarity on the issue after a likely notification from the central government.

If there are no legal hurdles, the state government will issue a new order. The decision will be finalised after talks with the political leadership and the chief minister, said Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran.

The government has decided not to impose the new rates until the Centre makes the norms clear. In the interim, if a traffic violation is found, a case will be filed and notice issued to the offending motorist. However, further action will be taken until the picture gets clear on the revised norms.

Though the higher fines for drunk driving and dangerous driving could be retained, the state government is looking at legal options to reduce fines for other traffic violations.

K R Jyothilal, the Principal Secretary of the Transport Department, has directed Transport Commissioner R Sreelekha to study the method adopted by Gujarat and other states. Both will attend the meeting to be held on Monday.

Meanwhile, the authorities of the state government is in contact with the Transport Commissioners of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat over the isssue.

Centre has a rethink

New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highway too is having a rethink on the hefty fines under the new Motor Vehicles Act. After Gujarat, several other BJP-ruled states such as Karnataka and Goa have decided to reduce the rates, forcing the ministry to seek legal assistance to have a relook into the penalties prescribed.

Since many states have sought more clarity on the issue, the Centre too has sought legal assistance, Jyothilal stated.

Goa's transport minister Mauvin Godinho had said the state will impose the new fines only after it repairs all the roads. Interestingly, Karnataka deputy chief minister Govind Karjol said that good roads lead to more accidents.

Earlier Union minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the states were well within their rights to reduce the traffic fines but they will have to “bear the consequences”. He added that the fines have been increased after 30 years.

Rs 500 now has a value of Rs 50,000. Indians, who have no regard for traffic rules in their home country, have no qualms in following strict traffic rules abroad, he said.

New fines in BJP-ruled states

Several BJP-ruled states have now decided to reduce the new traffic fines amid reports of public anger.

In Gujarat there is a 50-90 per cent reduction in fines for 17 types of traffic violations. The fine for not wearing helmet has been reduced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 500.

Karnataka too will follow the Gujarat model.

Goa won't reduce the fine for drunk driving, but other fines will be reviewed in ther coastal state.

In the hilly Uttarakhand a 75 per cent reduction has been proposed. However, there won't be any leniency for not wearing helmets and overloading of two-wheelers.

Maharashtra has requested the Centre to review the fines.

Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand governments are also looking at a review.

Among non-BJP-ruled states, Odisha won't implement the rules for three months. Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Congress-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Punjab governments had already said that they won't enforce the new rates.

Rajasthan government is planning to run an awareness campaign and then impose a higher fine for some violations.

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