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Report No. 234

6. Proposed Road Safety and Traffic Management Boards and National Road Traffic Policy

6.1 The Committee on Infrastructure (COI) headed by Hon'ble Prime Minister had approved in its third meeting on 13.01.2005, creation of a Directorate of Road Safety and Traffic Regulation. With a view to recommend the scope, functions and nature of this Directorate, a Committee headed by Shri S. Sundar (Sundar Committee) was constituted by the Department of Road Transport and Highways on 23.11.2005. The Sundar Committee submitted its Report in February, 2007, appending therewith a draft of "National Road Safety and Traffic Management Act, 2007". The long title of the proposed enactment reads as under:

"An Act to provide for the establishment of National and State level Road safety and Traffic Management Boards for the purpose of orderly development, regulation, promotion and optimization of modern and effective road safety and traffic management systems and practices including improved safety standards in road design, construction, operation and maintenance, and production and maintenance of mechanically propelled vehicles and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

6.2 The following clauses of the proposed enactment need to be perused:

Clause 2 (g). '"Mechanically Propelled Vehicle" or "Vehicle" means any mechanically propelled vehicle whether motorized or non-motorized, adapted for use upon roads whether the power of propulsion is transmitted thereto from an internal or external source and includes trailers, cycles and cycle rickshaws but excludes vehicles pulled by animals or humans.'

Clause 2(k). '"roads" means all roads including National Highways, state highways, district roads, village roads and urban roads which are open as public roads to Mechanically Propelled Vehicles and includes bridges, flyovers, overbridges and underbridges, but excludes all private roads and roads that fall in cantonment areas.'

Clause 2(n). '"vehicle other than Mechanically Propelled Vehicle" means all vehicles not being Mechanically Propelled Vehicles and includes carts drawn by animals or humans.'

Clause 6. Functions of the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board.

"(1) The National Board shall, in relation to road safety and traffic management, have the following powers and functions, namely:

(a) specify minimum design, construction, operation and maintenance standards for National Highways;

(b) specify minimum standards for establishing and operating trauma facilities and para-medical facilities for dealing with traffic related injuries on National Highways;

(c) conduct or cause to be conducted safety audits to monitor compliance with the standards specified by it;

(d) make recommendations or issue guidelines relating to design, construction, operation and maintenance standards for roads other than National Highways.

(2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law for the time being in force and effect, the National Board shall, in relation to Mechanically Propelled Vehicles, have the following powers and functions, namely:

(a) specify the minimum safety requirements and standards for the design and manufacture of Mechanically Propelled Vehicles;

(b) specify the minimum conditions for safe usage of Mechanically Propelled Vehicles including but not limited to specifying the maximum load bearing and capacity limits;

(c) conduct or cause to be conducted safety audits to monitor compliance with the standards specified by it;

(d) specify safety standards for vehicular traffic on various types of roads including but not limited to schemes for segregation of various classes of Vehicles in separate speed lanes and their right of way;

(e) aid and advise the Central Government in determining the changes, if any, required to any rules and regulations for training, testing and licensing of drivers of Mechanically Propelled Vehicles; and

(f) aid and advise the Central Government in matters relating to or arising out of traffic management of Mechanically Propelled Vehicles for the purposes of ensuring road safety.

(3) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (2) above, the National Board shall have the following additional powers and functions, namely:

(a) conduct or cause to be conducted research in different spheres of road safety and traffic management and publish the findings thereof;

(b) establish the procedure and methodology for data collection, transmission and analysis at appropriate levels, and define the role of different agencies within the jurisdiction of National Board involved in the process;

(c) establish procedures and centres for multi-disciplinary crash investigation;

(d) make recommendations or issue guidelines relating to safety features for vehicles other than Mechanically Propelled Vehicles and for safe operating conditions for such vehicles;

(e) make recommendations or issue guidelines for building capacity and skills in the traffic police, hospitals, highway authorities, educational and research organizations and other organizations dealing with road safety and traffic management;

(f) promote best practices in road safety and traffic management, undertake road safety and traffic education programs, and conduct campaigns to create awareness amongst all sections of road users, children and students on matters relating to road safety;

(g) recognize non-government organizations working in the area of road safety and traffic management, and assist them in promotion of efficient traffic management and road safety;

(h) provide for the special requirements of women, children, senior citizens, disabled persons and pedestrians when making regulations or recommendations or when issuing guidelines relating to road safety and traffic management;

(i) advise the Central Government on administration of the provisions relating to safety as contained in Chapters II, IV, V, VII, VIII and XIII of the Central Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and the rules made thereunder;

(j) provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Road Safety and Traffic Management Boards with a view to promoting uniform road safety and traffic management systems and practices throughout the country;

(k) enter into agreements with the state governments and/or State Road Safety and Traffic Management Boards on behalf of the Central Government for the promotion of road safety and efficient traffic management; and

(l) liaise with other agencies such as education boards and institutions, Director-General of health services and non- 49governmental organizations in matters relating to road safety and traffic management.

(4) Nothing contained in sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) of this section 6 shall be construed or interpreted as conferring on the National Board powers, functions and jurisdiction in respect of matters relating to public order, roads other than National Highways and vehicles other than Mechanically Propelled Vehicles.

(5) The National Board may be a special or general resolution delegate to the Chairperson or any other member of the National Board or to any officer of the National Board, subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as may be stipulated, such of its powers and functions under this Act (except powers under subsection (3) of this section 6 and section 37 as it may deem necessary.

(6) The National Board shall exercise its powers and discharge its functions in a transparent manner."

Clause 11. Functions of the State Road Safety and Traffic Management Board. "(1) Subject to the provisions of the Act, the State Board shall in relation to road safety and traffic management on roads other than National Highways situate within the relevant State have the following powers and functions, namely:

(a) aid and advise the State Government, on matters relating to or arising out of road safety and traffic management in the State;

(b) coordinate road safety and traffic management functions and implementation of measures relating thereto with the State level agencies and departments involved in road safety and traffic management for the purposes of this Act;

(c) specify minimum design, construction, operation and maintenance standards for roads other than National Highways with due regard to the recommendations or guidelines of the National Board;

(d) specify minimum standards for establishing and operating trauma facilities and para-medical facilities for dealing with traffic related injuries on all roads other than National Highways;

(e) conduct or cause to be conducted safety audits to monitor compliance with the standards specified under this Act other than matters relating to National Highways and matters within the jurisdiction of the Central Government;

(f) specify minimum safety requirements and standards for the design and manufacture of vehicles other than Mechanically Propelled Vehicles with due regard to the recommendations or guidelines of the National Board;

(g) recommend measures for enquiry into and redressal of complaints and grievances relating to road safety and traffic management;

(h) upon request of the National Board, conduct or cause to be conducted surveys and audits to monitor compliance with laws relating to road safety and traffic management and the adherence to standards, procedures and guidelines specified or issued by the National Board under this Act, and report the results of such surveys or audits to the National Board;

(i) identify and promote road user behavior strategies, capacity building measures, public awareness and road safety and traffic management education;

(j) promote efficient procedures for accident investigation, data collection, reporting and analysis, in relation to matters falling within its jurisdiction; and

(k) promote the provision of special requirements relating to women, children, senior citizens, disabled persons and pedestrians in matters relating to road safety and traffic management on roads other than National Highways.

(2) The State Board may be a special or general resolution delegate to the Chairperson or any other member of the State Board or to any officer of the State Board, subject to such conditions and limitations, if any, as may be specified in the order such of its powers and functions under this Act as it may deem necessary.

(3) The State Board shall exercise its powers and discharge its functions in a transparent manner.

(4) In exercise of its powers and discharge of its functions, the State Board shall conform to the regulations made by the National Board under this Act and shall have due regard for the guidelines issued by the National Board."

Clause 28. Advisory Committee. "(1) The Appropriate Board shall by notification establish within ninety days from the appointed date, a committee to be known as the National Advisory Committee or the State Advisory Committee, as the case may be.

(2) The National Advisory Committee shall consist of not more than thirty-one members and the State Advisory Committee shall consist of not more than twenty-one members to represent the interests of road users, construction industry, transport industry, automobile manufacturers, and relevant non-governmental organizations and academic and research bodies.

(3) The Chairperson and members of the Appropriate Board shall be the ex-officio Chairperson and ex-officio members of the National Advisory Committee or the State Advisory Committee, as the case may be.

(4) The National Advisory Committee or the State Advisory Committee, as the case may be, shall meet at least four times in a year and its proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the Regulations to be specified."

Clause 29. Objects of Advisory Committee. "The objects of the National Advisory Committee or the State Advisory Committee, as the case may be, shall be to advise the Appropriate Board on-

(a) questions of policy;

(b) matters relating to quality, continuity, reliability and extent of road safety and traffic management; and

(c) protection of road user interest."

Clause 30. Penalties. "(1) Whoever fails to comply with the regulations specifying the-

(i) design, construction, operation and maintenance standards for National Highways; or

(ii) safety standards for the design or manufacture of any Mechanically Propelled Vehicle, shall be punishable by the National Board with fine which may extend to Rupees ten lakh and where the contravention or failure is a continuing one, with further fine which may extend to Rupees three lakh for every month or part thereof during which such 52failure or contravention continues after lapse of 60 (sixty) days from the date of imposition of fine for the first such contravention or failure:

Provided that no such fine shall be imposed on

(i) the operator or owner of whole or any part of any National Highway for contravention of any such regulation within a period of three years from the date on which such regulation came into effect; and

(ii) the manufacturer of a Mechanically Propelled Vehicle for contravention of any such regulation within a period of one year from the date on which such regulation came in effect.

(2) Whoever fails to comply with the regulations specifying the-

(i) standards for design, construction, operation and maintenance of roads other than National Highways, or

(ii) safety standards for the design or manufacture of any vehicle other than a Mechanically Propelled Vehicle, shall be punishable by the State Board with fine which may extend to Rupees ten lakh and where the contravention or failure is a continuing one, with further fine which may extend to Rupees one lakh for every month or part thereof during which such failure or contravention continues after lapse of 60 (sixty) days from the date of conviction for such contravention or failure:

Provided that no such fine shall be imposed on

(i) the operator or owner of whole or any part of any road other than National Highways for contravention of any such regulation within a period of three years from the date on which such regulation came into effect; and

(ii) the manufacturer of a vehicle other than a Mechanically Propelled Vehicle for contravention of any such regulation within a period of one year from the date on which such regulation came into effect.

(3) Whoeve.-

(i) fails to furnish the information required pursuant to Section 7 or Section 12 or fails to grant or impedes any access required to any document, record or information or to any premises where any such document, record or information is believed to be kept pursuant to section 7 or Section 12; or

(ii) willfully furnishes or causes to be furnished any information or return which he knows to be false or incorrect in material particulars, shall for each such offence be punishable by the Appropriate Board with fine which may extend to Rupees one thousand and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine which may extend to Rupees five hundred for each day after the first day during which the offence continues.

(4) Without prejudice to the penalty that may be imposed under sub-sections (1) and (2) above, the Appropriate Board may recommend remedial action to the Appropriate Government."

Clause 37. Power of National Board to make regulations. "(1)The National Board may, by notification, make regulations consistent with this Act and the rules made thereunder to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(2) Before notifying any regulations, the National Board shall publish a draft thereof in such manner as it may deem fit to provide an opportunity to persons affected or likely to be affected by such regulations to make suggestions or objections and upon receiving such suggestions and objections within the period stipulated by the National Board, consider the same before notifying the regulations, with or without modifications.

(3) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such regulations may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:-

(a) any matter which is required to be, or may be, specified by regulations or in respect of which provisions is to be or may be made by regulations for the purposes of the National Board's exercise of its powers under section 6 of the Act;

(b) the time and places of meetings of the National Board and the procedure (including quorum necessary for 54the transaction of business) to be followed at such meetings under sub-section (1) of section 16;

(c) the powers and duties of the Secretary under subsection (1) of section 18;

(d) the terms and conditions of the consultants appointed under sub-section (4) of section 18;

(e) the procedure to be followed by the National Board including the places at which it shall conduct its business under sub-section (1) of section 16; and

(f) any other matter which is required to be, or may be, specified by regulations or in respect of which provision is to be or may be made by regulations."

Clause 43. Power of the Appropriate Government to suspend application of regulations. "(1) If, at any time, the Appropriate Government is of the opinion that on account of grave emergency, national security or other like cause it is necessary to keep in abeyance any or all regulation(s) made under this Act by the Appropriate Board, the Appropriate Government, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct suspension of application of such regulation(s) for such period, not exceeding six months at a time, as may be specified in the notification.

(2) On the expiration of the period of suspension specified in the notification issued under sub-section (1), the Appropriate Government may for reasons to be recorded in writing extend the period of suspension for such further term, not exceeding six months at a time, as it may consider necessary.

(3) The Appropriate Government shall cause a notification issued under sub-section (1) and a full report of any action taken under this section and the circumstances leading to such action and the reasons for such action to be laid before each House of Parliament or the State Legislature, as the case may be, at the earliest possible opportunity."

Clause 44. Act to have overriding effect. "The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any other instrument having effect by virtue of any other law other than this Act."



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