Nationwide Protests Sparked by Recent Amendments in Hit-and-Run Laws: Exploring Key Changes

Explore Hit-and-Run Laws:

Recently passed by the government, the Indian Motor Vehicles Act has generated controversy, especially among truck drivers. Under the ‘hit-and-run‘ statute, individuals engaged in traffic accidents face a seven lakh rupee penalty and a ten-year imprisonment. Truck drivers are especially concerned about this. They have coordinated violent protests in a number of US states. Concerns of a potential petrol shortage in some areas have been raised by these rallies in Maharashtra.

The new Hit & Run Rule: 

Rule states that a hit-and-run occurs when a driver leaves the site of an accident. In these situations, the driver decides to flee with the damaged car rather than providing aid to the injured party. The driver would frequently be granted bail under the prior hit-and-run legislation, which carried a maximum term of two years for similar offences.

There have been instances where the injured person’s life has been spared because the negligent motorist arrived at the hospital on time. On the other hand, hit-and-run instances are those in which the driver leaves the scene of an accident. Strict requirements are included in the new statute for such circumstances.

The new hit-and-run laws in the Indian Motor Vehicles Act stipulate a ten-year prison term for drivers who flee the scene of an accident without reporting it to the authorities. In addition, there will be heavy fines. Nationwide truck, trailer, bus, public transportation and taxi drivers are against this strict restriction. Highway blockades resulted from protests against this new law in several North Indian states.

According to statistics, India loses almost 50,000 lives to hit-and-run incidents annually. The new rule includes strict measures to hold drivers accountable in light of these terrible statistics.

Due to this new regulation, truck drivers have set up blockades in a number of North Indian states. Why did the government enact such draconian legislation? The number of hit-and-run incidents in the nation has surged in recent years. An estimated 50,000 individuals perish in these kinds of situations annually, according to data. In light of this, the government has imposed stringent regulations. Not only do drivers oppose this new law, but the Congress party does as well. With the introduction of this new law, the Modi government has been accused by former Transport Minister Pratap Singh Kachariyawas of being autocratic and going against the constitution.

What is stated by AIMTC?

According to the AIMTC, the nation lacks established procedures for accident investigations. This results in investigations that are biassed and frequently find the driver to be at fault. Although it is not their intention to leave the accident scene, drivers occasionally need to get away from the throng of onlookers.

The head of the AIMTC branch in Madhya Pradesh, Rakesh Tiwari, stated, “We have offered our assistance to the national organisation.” Approximately 5 lakh of the approximately 95 lakh trucks operating in the nation are in the state, providing work for millions of people. Such lopsided and thoughtless provisions are making people feel discouraged.” In the upcoming weeks, AIMTC plans nationwide protests against the new regulations.

Which laws were in place before and what modifications have been made?

In the past, IPC Sections 279 (rash driving), 304A (causing death by negligence), and 338 (endangering life) were used to prosecute hit-and-run incidents. The penalty for this might have been two years. IPC Section 302 was also added for serious situations.

Following the alteration, Section 104(2) now declares that an accused person could get a term of up to 10 years in prison and fines if they flee the scene of a hit-and-run incident and fail to notify the police or magistrate.

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