09 Jun 2017
International experts congratulate Indian government on key road safety bill

Indian and International experts came together to applaud the progress the government of India has made in improving road safety and collaborate on ideas for the best way forward, based on lessons learned from around the world following the monumental passage of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 in Lok Sabha in the April session of Parliament.

During the Round Table discussion held in Mumbai, international experts lauded the Government’s commitment to passage of strong road safety legislation in the Parliament, while encouraging continued efforts towards passage and implementation of the Bill. Kelly Larson, Program Director at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said, “The passage of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill in Lok Sabha is a big step forward for road safety in India. The international road safety community congratulates the Government and calls for immediate passage of this life saving bill in Rajya Sabha.”

The participants universally agreed that the Bill represents a significant accomplishment towards safer Indian roads across various aspects of road safety, while also highlighting specific policy gaps that still needed to be addressed to bring it in line with international best practices. The CEO of the Global Road Safety Partnership, David Cliff, stated, “The Global Road Safety Partnership applauds the passage of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill by the Lok Sabha and hopes that the Rajya Sabha will also pass the Bill in the next session of the Parliament.  The Bill reflects significant improvements to the provisions of road safety in the existing law.  Strengthening the provisions for regulating road users’ behaviors will contribute to the reduction of road traffic deaths and injuries in India.”

Members of the international community in attendance also commended the Indian government’s innovation in addressing the problem of road traffic injuries and fatalities. “It is very encouraging to see the Indian Government apply UN crash test standards to new models in October this year and all cars in production by October 2018. This is a huge step forward in passenger car safety in India. It is impressive also to see the Government mandating anti-lock brakes in motorcycles. More progress is needed and we hope that India will now plan to make electronic stability control mandatory for new cars, buses and lorries by 2020,” said Jess Truong, Programmes Director & Asia Pacific Coordinator at Global New Car Assessment Programme.

Global Road Safety Lead, Soames Job of the World Bank also recognized the government’s ownership and multi-sectoral approach to the safety of its citizens on the road, adding, “The World Bank believes that the passing of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by the Lok Sabha is an important step towards addressing the enormous challenge of the road safety being faced by India. The effort from the government has been enormous. In order to achieve the intended outcomes of this effort to reduce fatalities on Indian roads, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and State Governments need to develop a joint strategy and implement a time bound action plan.”

Given that Indian roads witness over 5 lakh road accidents each year resulting in 1.46 lakh fatalities, The Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2017 is an important step towards strengthening the legal framework for improving road safety in India. In addition to the staggering loss of life and enormous trauma for injury victims and their families, road accidents also result in an estimated 3% loss in the GDP. The Bill closes major gaps in the legislative framework that governs road safety in the country by amending the 28-year-old Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MVA). The next step in the legislative process is passage of the amended Bill in the Rajya Sabha during the upcoming August session. As a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, this is also a huge step forward for India in working towards its commitments to halving the injuries and fatalities in India by 2020.

The roundtable was jointly organized by the Road Safety Network consisting of organizations working on road safety, and committed to continued partnership with the government in the implementation phase.