Amendments in the Motor Vehicle Act: Summary

Author: Ms. Priya Shah, GLS Law College

Co-ordinator: Mr. Apratim De


The Motor Vehicles Act is an Act of the Parliament of India which regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles. The Act provides in detail the legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits, special provisions relating to state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offences, and penalties, etc.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 received the assent of the President of India on the 9th of August, 2019 and will be implemented from1st of September, 2019[1].

According to the 2018 report of the World Health Organization, the highest number of road accidents occur in India worldwide. Even China, the most populous country, is behind us in this regard[2]. Due to various reasons, the amendments are made in the motor vehicles act.

The amendments

Section. 2 of the act[3].

There are amendments to the definitions of the act. Various definitions are added and some are altered.

Section 2A has been inserted in the act which talks about the promotion of innovation, research, and development in the field of the vehicular engineering.

Section 138 of the act[4]

In section 138 of the act which gives power to the state government to make rules, a sub-section 1A has been inserted in section 138 of the act. The newly inserted sub-section gives power to the state government to regulate activities of non- mechanical vehicles and pedestrians to public places and national highways whereas any rules made in respect of national highways should be after consultation with the national highways authority of India.

Section 194B of the act[5].

This is a newly inserted section in the act which talk about the safety of the passengers. This section says that any person driving a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt will be punishable with a fine of 1000 Rs.

Further, the section specifically talks about children and says that any person driving a motor vehicle with a child who has not completed 14 years of age without wearing a seat belt or without a child restraint system shall be punishable with 1000 Rs. fine.

Section 129 of the act[6].

Section 129 of the act talks about wearing protective headgear. Amendment to Section 129proposes that every child above the age of four years being carried on a motorcycle must wear a helmet, the design, and specifications of which may be conforming to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards.

Section 137 of the act.[7]

Section 137 of the Act gives power to the central government to make rules. The clause (aa) of section 137 gives the central government power to provide the standards of protective headgear and measures for the safety of children below the age of four years.

Section 110 A and 110 B[8]

The above-mentioned sections talk about the recalling of vehicles. The newly inserted sections 110A and 110B empowers CentralGovernment to recall vehicles that do not meet standards and it also provides for the establishment of testing agencies for issuing certificates of approval.

Section 198A of the act[9].

Section 198A of the act talks about failure to comply with standards for road design, construction, and maintenance. This newly inserted section198A is to hold road contractors, consultants or concessionaires accountable for faulty road design, construction and maintenance and failure to do so will lead them to be fined up to Rs. 1 lakh. The insertion of a section to penalize contractors for faulty road design and engineering will ensure an accountability framework besides improving the quality of the roads.

Licensing system[10]

According to section 9 (4), the minimum educational qualification has been omitted for transport drivers. The exemption from taking the test of competence in case the applicant produces a certificate from an established school given in the second proviso to Section 9 (3) has been omitted.

A sub-section 5 has been added in section 12 of the act which removed the necessity of possessing a license to drive a light motor vehicle for at least one year before applying for a learner’s license to drive a transport vehicle.

The amendment in section 14 of the act increases the renewal of transport licenses from 3 years to 5 years while the renewal of transport licenses for driving vehicles with hazardous goods has been increased to three years from one year[11].

A new section 25A has been inserted which directs the establishment of the national register of driving licenses. The provision also provides for the State Registers to be subsumed in the national register. It specifies that no driving license shall be valid unless it has been issued a unique driving license number under the National Register of Driving Licences.

The renewal period of a license has been fixed at intervals of 10 years after the age of thirty years. The renewal period after attaining the age of fifty-five years has been fixed every 5 years.

Amendment to Section 19 provides for the licensing authority to disqualify a person from holding a license and place his name in public domain unless he successfully completes a driver refresher training course from an established school after a certain number of offences.

Section 27 of the act

Section 27 of the Act gives power to the central government to make rules for:

  • The form and manner in which the licensing authority shall issue licenses
  • The curriculum and training modules for the regulation of schools and establishments referred to in Section 12
  • The manner of placing a license holders name in the public domain for disqualification due to a certain number of offences
  • The nature, syllabus, and duration of driver refresher training course
  • The matters referred to in Section 25A, i.e., maintenance of National Registers for driving licenses.

Section 41 of the act[12]

Section 41 of the act talks about the registration of the new vehicles. The amendment enables the dealers of the vehicles to register the new vehicles. There is also a provision that fixed penalties for dealers who fail to duly register a vehicle or falter in their duties. Such dealers can be fined for up to Rs. 15,000.

Section 72 of the act[13].

Section 72 of the act talks about the grant of stage carriage permit. Amendment to Section 72gives the power to the Regional PowerAuthority to waive any condition prescribed in the section to obtain a permit for a stage carriage in rural areas. The conditions prescribed in Section 72 include

  • The maximum number of passengers and the maximum weight of luggage that may be carried.
  • Minimum and maximum number of daily trips that may be provided
  • Specifications of approved body codes

The Bill proposes automated fitness testing for transport vehicles with effect from a date as notified by the Central Government.

Section 117 of the act[14]

Section 117 of the act talks about parking places and halting stations. Amendment to Section 117 puts a duty on the State government to prioritize the safety of road users and ensure the free flow of traffic while designating parking zones.

Section 136A[15]

Section 136A is the newly inserted section which talks about the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety. The section gives power to the central government to make rules in this regard and direct the state government to ensure the implementation of the same.

Section 215D[16]

Section 215D proposes to establish a national road safety board. The Board will render advice to the Union as well as State Government on all aspects of road safety and traffic management including the standards of road design, vehicle maintenance, road maintenance, sustainable utilization of road transport, safety of vulnerable road users, road construction technology, motor vehicle standards, etc.

Section 66A and 66B[17]

The newly inserted section 66A and 66B propose a national transportation policy. These newly inserted sections give power to the central government to implement the national transportation policy in consultation with the states.

Section 199A[18]

Offence by Juveniles is a new category introduced. Now Guardian of the Juvenile/owner of the vehicle shall be fined Rs. 25,000 with 3 yrs. imprisonment while the Juvenile to be tried under Juveniles Justice Act. Registration of Motor Vehicle shall be canceled.


  • The fine for drinking and driving has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 along with imprisonment of 6 months.
  • The fine for rash driving increased from Rs. 1000 to 5000.
  • Driving without a license will be fined Rs. 5000.
  • If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. 
  • If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be up to Rs.1 lac.
  • Under section 196 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 2019 driving without Insurance will be fined Rs 2000.
  • Under section 194 D of the act; riding without Helmets will be fined to Rs 1000 and disqualification for 3 months for a licence.
  • Under section 194B of the Act; driving without a seat belt will cost Rs. 1000.
  • Speeding / Racing will be fined Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 500 earlier.
  • Under section 194 E of the Act; not providing a way for emergency vehicles will cost Rs 10,000.