Insurance companies may soon stop paying for damages caused by drunk driving

Sriparna Ghosh
drunk driving

Damages caused due to driving under the influence of alcohol will soon be no longer covered by insurance companies. Drunk drivers who meets with accidents may no longer enjoy coverage by the insurance company. They may even have to spend a massive amount for causing death or injury, according to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday, April 7.

However, the road transport ministry has not yet included the provision of trying drunk drivers for "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" in case the crash kills somebody, which is a non-bailable offence and attracts a 10-year jail term.

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Even though the recommendations of the parliamentary panel have been accepted by the road transport ministry, it has referred the suggestion to the ministry of home affairs as the move requires an amendment in the Indian Penal Code.

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Experts feel that while this new rule may act as a deterrent, the greater concern is that the compensation received by the victim may get compromised as it will depend on the income and paying capacity of the accused driver, the Times of India reported.

"Why is the government putting such a provision when it's aware of the income of professional drivers? This will indirectly benefit the insurance companies. Any single drunk driver hitting road is a failure of the government authorities," said SP Singh of Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), a Delhi-based think tank on transport issues.

Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says the Bill aims at reducing road fatalities by half.

Penalties like jail term and suspension of driving licence for offences such as juvenile driving, speeding, dangerous driving, and double penalty on enforcement personnel for committing any offence will also be addressed in the Bill. The proposed law will also have provision for regulating taxi aggregators.

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