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Offences And Rights Under The Motor Vehicle Act What Every Motor Vehicle Driver Must Know

  1. You cannot give a lift to any unknown person on your vehicle

    According to Section 66 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, one can only use a vehicle for the purpose of which he/she has been granted permit by the Regional or State Transport Authority, therefore, using a motor vehicle for giving lift to an unknown person from one place to another is a commercial purpose, for which permit is granted only to commercial vehicles. Therefore, a private vehicle which has been granted permit for private use only cannot be used for giving lift to any unknown person.[1]

     
  2. You cannot cross the yellow line to overtake

    According to Rule 18 of the Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, on roads which have a yellow line instead of a divider, you cannot cross the yellow line in order to overtake a vehicle moving slowly in front of you. This means that if you cross the yellow line in between of a road which is to be treated as a divider, to overtake another vehicle, it will be violative of the Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989.[2]
     
  3. You must use working headlights after sunset or in insufficient light

    According to Rule 105 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, after half an hour of the sunset and at any time when there is no sufficient light, the lamps of the vehicle (in working condition) must be used and shall clearly render persons and vehicle 150 meters ahead.[3]
     
  4. You must stop your vehicle (involved in any accident) when stopped by a Police Officer of rank not below SI

    According to clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 132 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, if a person is driving any motor vehicle which is involved in any accident to a person, animal or vehicle or of damage to property, then it is the duty of the person driving that motor vehicle to stop his/her vehicle when he/she is stopped by a police officer of the rank of Sub-Inspector or above. But this is only for the cases where the motor vehicle is involved in any accident and not otherwise.[4]
     
  5. You must not to prevent other vehicle from overtaking your vehicle

    According to Rule 7 of Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, when your vehicle is being passed by or being overtaken by another vehicle, you cannot increase your speed or cannot do anything to prevent that vehicle from overtaking you. This means that if another vehicle is trying to overtake your vehicle, it is your duty not to obstruct or prevent him to do so by increasing the speed or in any other manner but let him overtake your vehicle.[5]
     
  6. You must not use vehicle creating unnecessary noise or having loud/harsh sounding horns

    According to Rule 21 of Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989, you cannot drive a vehicle creating any unnecessary undue sound and also, you can neither fit nor use in your vehicle, any multitoned horn giving a loud, harsh, shrill or alarming noise, which is unpleasant to the ears of the other drivers on the road.[6]
     
  7. You must not use mobile phone in a disturbing manner

    No driver of a motor-vehicle shall use or answer the cell phone while driving the vehicle. Rule 21(6) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 states that if the driver, while driving a transport vehicle, engages himself in activity which is likely to disturb his concentration he would be guilty of the commission of an act that ‘shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public’. Rule 21(25) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 states that the act of ‘using mobile phone while driving a vehicle’ shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public.[7]
     
  8. You must not park your vehicle improperly

    According to Section 122 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, No person who is the owner or in charge of a motor vehicle should no park or rest his vehicle in such an unusual way that it causes obstruction or under inconvenience to the general public.[8]
     
  9. Your vehicle must display number plate in proper form and manner

    According to Rule 50 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, The number plate of the vehicle should be clearly visible both at the front and at the back. The number plate should be a solid unit of 1.0 mm thick aluminium; it should be rounded from all the edges as sharp edges may inflict injuries to the pedestrians. It should also bear the letter IND in blue colour.[9]
     
  10. Suspension of permit if goods vehicle used for carrying passengers

    According to Section 86(1)(e) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, A permit can be cancelled if the holder fails, without reasonable doubt, to use the vehicle for which the permit was granted. As the permit is granted to carry goods so it cannot be used to carry passengers in it.[10]
     
  11. You must have First Aid kit in your vehicle
    According to Rule 138(4)(d) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, Every vehicle should have a First Aid kit in it containing a tube of antiseptic cream, sterilised elastic plaster, sterilised dressings, waterproof plaster and elastic bandage for wounds and burns.[11]
     
  12. You cannot drive left hand drive vehicles ‘generally’

    According to Section 120 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, No person shall be allowed to drive a left-hand drive car in public areas, unless and until it is equipped with a working electrical or mechanical signalling device.[12]
     
  13. A driver cannot leave a stationary vehicle with its ignition on in public place

    According to Section 120 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, No person can leave his motor vehicle with ignition on in any public place unless it is mechanics have been switched off or a hand brake is applied, or such measures are taken to ensure that such vehicle won’t come in motion in absence of the driver.[13]
     
  14. You cannot cross the stop line before the Zebra crossing

    According to Section 133(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, no person driving a car should cross the stop line before the zebra crossing when the traffic light is red. As it obstructs the pedestrians who are trying to cross the road through zebra crossing.[14]
     
  15. A child is treated as third passenger on a two-wheeler

    Section 128 of the Motor Vehicles Act states that a two-wheeler rider is not allowed to carry more than one passenger in addition to himself and that person should be seated on a seat which is securely fixed to the said vehicle. This section, however, does not specify the case if a couple is riding a two-wheeler with a child. But the traffic police treat the child as a third passenger and hence can issue a challan of Rs 2,000 in this regard.


Lesser-Known Rights Of A Driver Under Laws Related To Motor Vehicle

  1. Right to refuse to hand over your licence

    According to Section 130 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, when a police officer demands licence from a driver of a motor vehicle in a public place, the driver of that motor vehicle has to “produce” the licence, which means that you can show your licence to the police officer but if you do not want to hand over your licence to the police officer, you can refuse to do so.[15]
     
  2. Right to ask for temporary acknowledgement if licence is seized

    According to Section 206, sub-section (2) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, to prevent the driver of a motor vehicle (who is charged with any offence under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988) from absconding, the police officer can seize the licence of the driver and forward it to the Court taking cognizance of the offence and the said Court shall return the licence to him in exchange for the temporary acknowledgment (given under sub-section (3) of Section 206). A police officer who is seizing a licence (under sub-section (2) of Section 206) has to give to the person surrendering the licence a temporary acknowledgment which shall authorise the holder to drive until the licence has been returned to him or until such date as may be specified by the police officer in the acknowledgment, whichever is earlier.[16]
     
  3. Right to produce documents within 15 days

    In general cases, it is not compulsory to produce certificate of registration, fitness and permit, insurance, the driving licence or any other relevant document on demand by any police officer in uniform on the spot. If you are not in possession of any of these documents, then according to Rule 139 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, you can send these documents to that police officer by post within 15 days of the date of demand.[17]
     
  4. Right to produce documents in electronic form

    According to circular dated 17th December 2018 by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, an amendment in Rule 139 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules vide Notification bearing No. G.S.R. 1081 dated 2nd November 2018, allowed production of documents such as certificate of registration, insurance, fitness and permit, the driving licence, certificate for pollution under check and any other relevant documents in electronic form with a view to ease of living for the people. It has been considered necessary to prescribe a Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) for the same so as to ensure its seamless implementation.[18]
     
  5. Right to refuse police officer to take out keys from ignition if you are cooperating

    No police officer can snatch the keys out of the ignition of the vehicle, either two-wheeler or four-wheeler. An RTI was filed by advocate Pawan Parikh, in response of which, it was clarified that irrespective of the rank of the police officer, he/she does not have the power to take the keys out of the ignition of the vehicle and doing so is contrary to law.[19]
     
  6. Exemption from wearing helmet if you are a Sikh person, or are unable to wear to helmet due to any surgery above his neck

    According to Section 129 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, a person is exempted from wearing protective headgear (helmet) if that person is a Sikh wearing a turban while driving, or if that person is unable to wear protective headgear (helmet) due to any surgery above his neck.[20]


End-Notes:

  1. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 66, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  2. Rule 18, Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989.
  3. Rule 105, Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  4. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, §132, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  5. Rule 7, Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989.
  6. Rule 21, Rules of the Road Regulations, 1989.
  7. Rule 21, Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  8. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 122, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  9. Rule 50, Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  10. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 86, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  11. Rule 138, Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  12. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, §120, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  13. Ibid.
  14. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 133, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  15. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 130, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  16. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 206, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).
  17. Rule 139, Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
  18. Circular No. F. No. RT-11036/64/2017-MVL dt. 17.12.2018, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India.
  19. Devashish Bhuyan, Policeman Snatched Away his Bike’s Keys for No Reason, What He Did Next Was Simply Amazing, RVCJ, (Apr. 17, 2021, 5:25 PM), https://www.rvcj.com/policeman-snatched-away-bikes-keys-no-reason-next-simply-amazing/.
  20. Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, § 129, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1988 (India).

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