Drivers talking on phone will now lose their licence
Pillion riders too will have to wear helmets
Make abiding by traffic rules your resolution for 2016. For, jumping a traffic light, talking on the phone while driving, speeding or driving drunk, violations considered “minor” by most, could lead to suspension of your driver’s licence for three months. Moreover, pillion riders on two-wheelers too will have to wear helmets, failing which they will have to undergo a mandatory two-hour counselling session, in addition to a penalty.
The rules, aimed at improving road safety in Maharashtra, which tops the list for road accident casualties in the country with more than 12,500 deaths a year, were announced by the state government on Friday and will come into effect immediately.
Those driving drunk, ferrying passengers in goods vehicles and exceeding load limits will also have their licences suspended on the spot. “The counselling session will also be mandatory for those driving without wearing a seatbelt,” said state transport minister Diwakar Raote. The government resolution (GR), dated December 31, 2015, orders the road transport offices and traffic police to ensure strict implementation of traffic rules from January 1 and submit an action taken report every three months.
While welcoming the new rules safety, activists and officials cautioned that implementing them will not be easy. “The plan sounds good, but unless the implementation is chalked out, it may not have the desired effect,” said Ashutosh Atray, a road safety expert.
Officials said barring Mumbai, no other city in Maharashtra follows the helmet rule. “Cities such as Pune, where there are a large number of two-wheelers, have objected to the idea in the past. Forget pillion riders, even those riding the two-wheelers don’t use a helmet there,” said another official from the transport department. According to sources, the decision has been taken based on the recommendations of the road safety council (RSC), in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines issued in August last year, at a meeting held at Nagpur on December 17.
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