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If you are a habitual traffic offender, be prepared to go to jail along with paying huge penalties. The Govt. of India has revised penalties for traffic rules violations under new Motor Vehicle Act 2012. The Govt. of India has introduced hefty penalties / fines for various traffic violations committed by two wheelers, four wheelers and commercial vehicle drivers. Out of all, drunken driving, jumping red signal / light, over speeding and use of mobile phones while driving will attract huge fines ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 10000 depending on the extent of violation. The Union Cabinet has accepted the new traffic rules on Thursday, 1st March 2012. Apart from fine, new rules also impose fixed jail term for different traffic violations. Following are the highlights of new traffic penalties:

1) Drunken Driving: Increased fine will range from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment from six months to four years depending upon the severity of offense. The authorities can also cancel driving license in extreme cases of traffic violations due to drunken driving.

2) Using Mobile Phones while driving: Fine of Rs 500 for first offense and Rs 2,000-5,000 for subsequent instances. As per the proposal , the mobile phone is defined as any instrument that can receive and transmit voice, text and picture. Hence the offense includes not only talking on phone while driving, but also sending text messages and using hands free instruments as well.

3) Compensation in Hit and Run accidents: The Government has increased compensation for four-fold in hit and run accidents. Now it is Rs 1 lakh in fatal accidents, and Rs 50,000 for grievous hurt.

4) Jumping the Red Signal / Driving without Seal Belt / Helmet: The fine for jumping these offenses is increased from Rs 100 to Rs 100-500 for first offense and from Rs 300 to Rs 300-1,500 in consequent violations.

5) Over Speed: For over-speeding the fine is proposed to increase from Rs 400 to Rs 400-1,000 for first offense. It will be Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000-5,000 for the second and consequent offenses.

6) Dangerous Driving: The fine has been increased to Rs 2,000-5,000 and / or imprisonment of 2 years in case of repeated offense. For first offense, the penalty is six months imprisonment and or fine of Rs 1,000.

The bill is also proposed to give more powers to state governments in issuing driving licenses, fitness certificates, grant of permits, registration cards and disposal of appeals. The Govt. is also considering to introduce a timeline for issuing of licenses, permits, registration cards and fitness certificates. The new bill is likely to be introduced in the coming Budget session of Parliament.

In Andhra Pradesh, e-challan system is being implemented for a long time. Under this, the vehicle owner will be charged online for any traffic violations. He has to pay the penalty / fine at any e-seva center. The traffic police will seize the vehicle if the penalty is not paid in time.

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