The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday issued orders majorly enhancing the penalties for various traffic rule violations, in accordance with the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, enacted by the Government of India.
As per the new orders, underage driving, which had a penalty of only Rs 500 so far, will now attract a fine of Rs 5,000.
Dangerous driving, including use of mobile phones while driving, will now carry a penalty of Rs 1,500 for the first offence and Rs 10,000 for the subsequent offences (if committed within three years). .
For 'racing and trials of speed', the fine has been enhanced to Rs 5,000 (first offence) from a meagre Rs 500, and for subsequent offences, the fine is Rs 10,000.
Fines for other offences have also been hiked steeply, according to an order issued by Principal Secretary (Transport, Roads and Buildings) M T Krishna Babu.
Though various other states implemented the new legislation passed by the Centre, Andhra Pradesh did not do so, possibly fearing a public backlash as the Jagan Mohan Reddy government had just assumed office.
The hike in compounding fees for traffic violations was one of the avenues explored, and accordingly, the Chief Minister recently gave his nod for revision of the penalties in line with the Central legislation, official sources told PTI.
Sources said the Transport Department alone collected fines to the tune of Rs 184 crore in 2019-20 financial year as against Rs 324 crore the previous year. No specific target has been fixed for the current fiscal but the collections have so far been 'too minimal', mainly because of the coronavirus lockdown, the sources pointed out.
The police department, on the other hand, has been collecting over Rs 300 crore per annum in the form of fines on vehicle users, a top police official said. The compounding amount has only been on the rise with the growing number of traffic violations, he pointed out.
With the fine amounts now increased steeply, the authorities of both transport and police departments hope to mop up a revenue of at least Rs 1,000 crore a year through enforcement.
"More than the revenue, we want the heavy fines to act as a deterrent to curb traffic violations and ensure road discipline among vehicle users," the police official noted.
The last time that traffic fines were increased in the state was way back in August 2011, when Andhra Pradesh was united.