Misconceptions Regarding Traffic Rules in India
By Shagun Mahendroo
The Indian Motor Vehicles Act establishes guidelines for all aspects of road transport vehicles and traffic laws. The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 took effect on July 1, 1989, and was substantially amended by The Motor Vehicles Amendment Act of 2019 to erase the old Act's obsolescence after a 30-year absence.
Motor vehicle laws are extremely important in our daily lives.
Traffic laws should be well-understood by a responsible citizen. The majority of people are still unable to read the Motor Vehicles Act in its full due to its length, which has resulted in certain misunderstandings and misconceptions about traffic restrictions. They have lost a lot of money as a result of these misconceptions, which sometimes result in disasters.
In the following paragraphs, I will mention some of the most common traffic law misconceptions in India:
1)Answering Phone Calls with a Hands-Free Device:
It is a common misconception that using hand-free devices while driving, such as a Bluetooth headset or a Steering Wheel Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit, is legal. Several drivers said they had no notion it was illegal when they were stopped. Receiving calls on a hand-held or hands-free device, on the other hand, is prohibited and can result in serious consequences.
Although section 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 does not specifically reference hand-free devices, it does state that driving in a manner that is dangerous to the public is punished by a fine of up to Rs 1,000 or a six-month jail sentence. Second-time offenders face a maximum punishment of Rs 3,000 and a sentence of up to two years.
When you look into the section's underlying motivation, you'll find that it's to stop the distraction. Because studies show that using hands-free gadgets while driving is distracting, we can say that "any method that is dangerous to the public" includes using hand-free while driving. Thousands of lives are lost each year as a result of distracted driving. India is the country with the most traffic accidents in the world. As a result, this law is required.
2)It Is Not Required to Follow Traffic Lights at Night:
In 2019, trucks travelling from College Street openly crossed the red light at the College Street-Mahatma Gandhi Road intersection in Kolkata, attracting widespread media attention. When such violators are questioned about why they ran a red light at night, they frequently claim ignorance of the law.
It is a common misconception that following traffic lights after 10 p.m. is not required. At night, most people do not stop at intercessions. However, traffic lights are not only active throughout the day. They should be followed at all times of the day and night.
Violators of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act of 2019 must pay a fine of $1,000 if they run a red light regardless of the time of day or night.
3) It Is Legal to Reverse a Vehicle On A One-Way Road:
Many people believe it is legal to reverse a vehicle on a one-way road. It is completely prohibited to drive in the opposite direction on a one-way street. So put a stop to this misunderstanding.
4) It is Legal to Drive or Ride With Your Headlights On High Beam All The Time:
If an oncoming vehicle has its headlights on high beam and the driver does not switch to low beam, all chuffers and drivers would have been blinded.
Many people mistakenly believe that it is their right to have their headlights on high beam all of the time. When there is an oncoming vehicle or you are driving or riding behind another vehicle, however, traffic laws require you to adjust your headlights to low beam in order to provide them with improved vision at night.
According to sections 112 and 177 of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019, using high beam in situations where it is not required can result in a fine of INR 500. There may also be a fine (up to INR 1500) as a result of the violation.
5) Overtaking On the Left Is Illegal:
Normally, overtaking on the right is illegal. However, there is one circumstance in which overtaking on the left is completely permitted. Assume you have a vehicle in front of you, and the driver must make a right turn while using the right blinker; in this situation, you may overtake on the left. However, there must be sufficient space on the left side to do so.
6) You Are Allowed to Park If There Is No 'No Parking' Sign:
Another common misunderstanding is that if there is no 'no parking' sign posted at a location, it is acceptable to park one's vehicle there. However, regardless of whether there is a 'no parking' sign or not, parking in front of hospital or school entrances, bus stops, main roads, at traffic signals, or zebra, private properties without the owner's agreement, or on footpaths or far away from footpaths is prohibited.
If you park your vehicle in one of the aforementioned locations, you will be charged a penalty and your vehicle may be towed. Various Indian cities have different parking fees. The most severe fines are imposed in metropolitan locations such as Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi NCR.
Parking fines in Bangalore start at INR 1000. In Mumbai, parking fines for two-wheelers range from INR 5000 to INR 8300, medium vehicles from 11,000 to 17,600, light cars from 10,000 to 15,100, and three-wheelers from 8000 to 12,200.