I was riding my bicycle and jumped the red light accidentally. Will I be liable?
You may get fined for jumping the red light while riding the bicycle. This fine may or may not exist depending on the City Traffic Rules.
Am I allowed to write things other than the registration number on the number plates of my car or bike?
On the number plate only the registration number should be written, that too in a particular font and space. You are not allowed to write your post, party, national or party flag, government details or dealer name. This also applies to government vehicles.
Can I drive a motorcycle or a bike if I am 16 years old?
Any person above the age of 16 years can drive a motorcycle or a bike with an engine capacity not exceeding 50cc with a valid driving license. After attaining the age of 18 years, you can drive a bike with a higher engine capacity.
I have a license for a car, can I drive a truck?
No, your license is usually given for specific vehicle type. If you have a license for a car, you cannot drive a truck. For driving a truck you need a commercial driving license, which is given only to people above the age of 20.
If my car is towed away for parking in a no-parking zone, what can I do?
You will have to go to the nearest traffic police station/traffic police chowky/ traffic circle to find out where the car has been towed away to. You will have to pay the fine to the traffic police to get your vehicle released. The traffic police may ask for your documents (original or electronic), so make sure that you always have them with you.
Do I have to carry the original copies of all the documents needed for a vehicle or can I carry photocopies?
Under the law you have to carry the original copies of all the documents required for example, driving license, insurance certificate etc. Apart from physical copies of the documents, now the law also allows you to carry electronic copies on your electronic devices.
An e-Challan is an electronic document. If you are stopped by a traffic police and you are issued an e-challan, you can go to this website and pay your fine online. The e-Challan information is available online in both Hindi and English.
Will I be issued a Challan everytime I pay a fine for violation of Traffic rules?
Yes, if you violate traffic rules, then you will be issued a challan. A challan is a ticket that is issued to you after you have violated a traffic rule. This challan will have the details of the violation and the amount of fine that you have to pay.
Can I let my 15 year old son drive my car?
No, if you allow an underage person to drive your car, you will be punished under the provisions of the law on motor vehicles.
If any juvenile commits any offence under this law, the guardian of the juvenile or the owner of the motor vehicle will be punished, if he had knowledge that the offence was being committed(( Section 199A(1), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)). He will be punishable with jail time of 3 years and a fine of Rs. 25,000, and the registration of the motor vehicle can be cancelled for 12 months(( Section 199A(2)(4), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)). Furthermore, the juvenile will be punished under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000(( Section 199A(6), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)).
Can I drive my car alone after obtaining a learners license or do I need an expert with me?
No, you cannot drive alone even after obtaining a learners license. You will have to be accompanied by someone who has a driving license(( Section 3(b), Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.)).
Can I race on the roads at night?
No, you are not allowed to race on the roads at night. Regardless of whether it is day or night, you cannot race on the road with any vehicle or allow any racing to occur, without the written permission of the State Government of your state(( Section 189. Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)).
Can the Traffic Police challan me for using my private car for commercial purposes?
Yes, you can be issued a challan for using a private car for commercial purposes as you need a separate license for using a commercial car.
Do I have to carry the original copies of all the documents needed for a vehicle or can I carry photocopies?
Under law, for a commercial vehicle you have to always carry original copies of all the documents. For a non-transport vehicle, you should carry your original driving license and PUC Certificate, and originals or photocopies of your registration certificate and insurance certificate. Where the original certificate of registration or insurance certificate is not available with the driver, the owner or driver if required should produce the originals before a competent authority within 15 days(( https://parivahan.gov.in/parivahan/sites/default/files/NOTIFICATION%26ADVISORY/17th%20Dec%202018.pdf)).
Instead of a physical copy, you may carry an electronic copy of your required documents such as certificate of registration, certificate of insurance, driving license, certificate for pollution under check (PUC Certificate), and any other required permits such as a certificate of fitness if your vehicle is a commercial vehicle. These electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised at par with the original documents as per the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000(( Section 4, Information Technology Act, 2000.)).
Does my traffic fine vary across cities?
Yes, your traffic fine varies across cities. Each State can add different types of traffic violations and modify the traffic penalties applicable to the particular State.
Both the States and the Centre can revise and frame rules for motor vehicles(( Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, Concurrent List, Item 35.)). States can modify and specify enhanced penalties through an official notification(( Section 210A, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)), which shall be put before the House(s) of the State Legislature. Depending on what the House(s) decide, the notification shall have effect with respect to that particular State(( Section 212(5), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)).
If a traffic police officer asks for an amount that is not the correct traffic fine, what can I do?
If a traffic police officer asks for an amount and you are unsure whether it is the correct traffic fine, you can do the following:
If you think you are being asked for a higher amount than what is due as the correct fine amount, insist on having a challan or e-challan issued to you. This way, you can ensure that you only pay the exact fine amount as given under the law.
Can the traffic police check me for intoxication anytime?
Yes, the traffic police can stop your vehicle and check you for intoxication anytime by using breathalyzers(( Section 203, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)). If you are found to be intoxicated, they can then fine you accordingly.
If I am from Kerala, can I apply for a learners license and then a driving license in New Delhi?
Yes, it is not necessary to apply for a learner’s license or driving license at your place of birth or hometown(( Section 9(1), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)). You can apply for a license where:
- You are residing or;
- You have your place of business or;
- The driving school where you went for driving lessons is located.
Which documents do I need to carry with myself when I am driving a motor vehicle?
The documents that the driver of a motor vehicle needs to carry are:
- The certificate of registration (RC)(( Section 103, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- The certificate of insurance(( Section 146, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- Driving license(( Section 3, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- Certificate for pollution under check (PUC Certificate)(( Section 115(7), Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.))
- Any other required permits, if you are driving a commercial vehicle. For example, a certificate of fitness of the vehicle.
What is a valid license plate?
Indian law stipulates 3 types of license plates for different types of vehicles:
- Registration for Central government for defence purposes(( Section 60(2), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; ((Section 74, Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.))
- Armed forces vehicles – The number plate will have an arrow pointing upward
UN Vehicles – The same rule of Consular Mission vehicles applies to UN Vehicles. However, instead of ‘CC’ or ‘CD’, the letters ‘UN’ are used.
- State registered motor vehicles(( Section 63(1), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; ((Section 74, Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.))
- Private vehicles – A white background with black lettering
- Commercial vehicles – A yellow background with black lettering
- Vehicle registration for diplomats(( Section 42, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; ((Section 76-A and 76-B, Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.))
- CD/CC – Vehicles which belong to a diplomatic mission in Delhi or to any consular post or to any of its diplomatic officers, followed by the number allotted to that mission
- CDP – Vehicle belonging to a non-diplomatic mission in Delhi, followed by the number assigned to that mission
What will happen if I commit a traffic offence more than once?
Repeating certain types of traffic offences more than once will result in a higher punishment. Depending on the offence, you could be taken to Court to determine a term of imprisonment/jail time and/or be fined with a higher amount.
For example, if you do unauthorized racing on the road, you will be punished with jail time of up to 3 months or with a fine of Rs. 5,000, or with both for the first offence. For every subsequent offence, you will be punished with jail time of up to 1 year, or a fine of Rs. 10,000 or both(( Section 189, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)).
I’m colour blind. Can I still get a driving license?
Yes, it is still possible to get a driving license. However, every application for obtaining a driving license needs to be accompanied by a medical certificate by a medical officer stating that you are fit to drive(( Section 5(1), Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.)). This certificate requires a declaration of physical fitness(( Section 5(2), Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.)) wherein the applicant is asked if he/she can distinguish the pigmentary colours, red and green. An applicant who answers in the negative has to supplement the answer with full details, and may be required to give further information regarding the same(( Form 1, Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989.)).
If the medical certificate is granted taking into account all the particulars, the applicant may be able to obtain a driving license.
When I was stopped by a police officer, I did not have enough money to pay the traffic fine. What should I do? What is the procedure for paying this fine?
The government has come up with a system of e-Challans that allow you to pay fines through an online portal. You can check the status of your e-Challan and pay the fine here.
However, if you cannot pay online and cannot pay the spot fine either, the police may keep your driving license to ensure your presence in Court. You will be issued an acknowledgement receipt with instructions on where to collect your license and pay your fine.
Will I be issued a Challan every time I pay a fine for violation of traffic rules?
Yes, you will be issued a Challan every time you violate traffic rules. A challan is a ticket that is issued to you after you have violated a traffic rule, which has the details of the violation and the amount of fine that you have to pay.
I know I am not allowed to race on crowded roads. Can I race on empty roads?
No, you are not allowed under the law to race in any public space, including empty roads(( Section 189, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.)). It does not matter if the road you are racing on is crowded or empty; the very act of racing in public spaces is prohibited, and you can get punished for unauthorized racing on roads.
Under what circumstances can my driving license be revoked?
The licensing authority can revoke your license or disqualify you from holding a license in the following cases:
- If you have a disease or disability that renders you incapable of driving the motor vehicle for which you have a license(( Section 16, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you are a habitual criminal or a habitual drunkard(( Section 19(1)(a), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you are addicted to any drugs listed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985(( Section 19(1)(b), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you have used a motor vehicle to commit a crime which is cognizable in nature (police can arrest you without a warrant)(( Section 19(1)(c), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you have a record of driving in a manner which is dangerous to the public or causes a nuisance to the public(( Section 19(1)(d,f), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you have obtained your license by providing incorrect information or by fraud(( Section 19(1)(e), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you have been ordered to give a fresh driving test, but you have failed that test(( Section 19(1)(g), The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.))
- If you are under 18 years of age hold a learner’s/driving license under the case of an adult, and are no longer in their care.
I am driving my car in Delhi when I am stopped by the traffic police and asked to show my documents. What documents do I have to carry? Do all the documents have to be original documents or are photocopies enough?
For a private motor vehicle like your car, you should carry your original driving license and Pollution Under Check (PUC) Certificate, and originals or photocopies of your registration certificate and insurance certificate(( Section 38(3), Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017.)). If you are not carrying originals of your certificate of registration or insurance certificate, you may be required to produce the originals before a competent authority within 15 days(( Section 38(3), Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017.)).
Instead of a physical copy, you may carry an electronic copy of your required documents(( https://parivahan.gov.in/parivahan/sites/default/files/NOTIFICATION%26ADVISORY/17th%20Dec%202018.pdf; Section 4, Information Technology Act, 2000.)). These electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised at par with the original documents as per the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
If I help road accident victims, will I get in trouble or harassed by the police?
Timely help given to a road accident victim can mean the difference between life and death for them. People should be encouraged to be good samaritans, who in good faith and without expectation of reward or duty of care, provide assistance to a victim of a road accident. However, witnesses or bystanders often hesitate to help due to the fear of:
To address this issue, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways gave effect to the Good Samaritan Law. It prohibits harassment of good samaritans by police or the hospitals when they bring in or report about an accident victim. The salient features of the Law are:
- Legal hassles
- Being asked to repeatedly appear as a witness in court
- Repeated questioning or harassment by the police
- Payment of charges or fees at hospitals
If a doctor does not provide immediate emergency care as required in an accident case, it shall constitute ‘professional misconduct’(( Chapter 7, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulation, 2002 Chapter 7, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulation, 2002.)) and be a cause for disciplinary action.
- A bystander or good samaritan who takes an accident victim to a hospital should be allowed to leave immediately after, no questions asked.
- They shall be rewarded/compensated in a manner specified by the State governments, to encourage others to follow suit.
- They shall not be liable for any civil or criminal liability arising out of the accident
- They can maintain their anonymity when reporting the accident to the police on phone. They cannot be compelled to reveal their identification details.
- The same provision of anonymity shall apply to the Medico-legal Form in hospitals. In both places, the good samaritan can voluntarily provide their details.
- In case the good samaritan agrees to be a witness in the case, and is required for investigation by police, they may be examined once. Thereafter they should not be harassed or intimidated by the police and the same should be ensured by the State government through appropriate methods.
- Hospitals are not to detain good samaritans or demand treatment costs from them.