Many vehicle owners unaware they have to carry insurance papers

Bengaluru BTP Karnataka Legal Safety

Collection of  fines for the offence rises

Bengaluru has seen an increase in the seizure of vehicles and collection of fines over missing insurance documents — a result of drivers being unaware of the law that they must carry these.

In 2018, the fine collected across Karnataka from vehicle drivers who did not have insurance documents was Rs 56.36 crore. This rose marginally to Rs 56.46 crore in 2019. The year 2020 recorded a collection of Rs 56.75 crore. 

B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda, Joint Commissioner of Traffic Police, said: “We are creating awareness among people about this issue.  We collect fines because it’s our job, but seeing the violations drop will… make us happy. We keep trying to keep the numbers down.”

H. Swamy, Joint Commissioner of Transport, said: “Every year, the number of fines collected by both RTO and traffic police has astonished me. While the government tried to impose stricter laws and make it compulsory for vehicles to have insurance, people are still unaware of it.” 

G.T. Srinivas, a traffic inspector explained: “It’s important for any vehicle owner to have insurance. One of the many benefits of having insurance is when the situation involves an accident. The vehicle owner can claim his insurance and pay for the damages caused by him to a third party. Without insurance papers, vehicle owners can get into trouble. While the first and second-time violations invite a penalty of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 respectively; for the third violation, police can seize the vehicle and file a case against the offender.”

S. Niha, a vehicle owner who recently paid a fine for not having insurance papers, shared: “Honestly, I was not aware of availing insurance. I recently purchased my Scooty, and nobody informed me about this. Until I was asked to pay a fine, I didn’t realize the importance of getting insurance for my vehicle. Soon after, I got insurance.”

The Motor Vehicles Act states that a person is required to pay Rs 2000 and serve a three-month prison sentence if caught driving without insurance papers. In case the person is caught repeating this same offence, the fine is increased and the person is likely to be sentenced to pay a fine of Rs 4,000 and serve three months in prison. 

R. Krishna, an advocate, said: “Fines were issued as a temporary solution to regulate traffic laws. Seizing a vehicle and booking a case on it is a long procedure. To avoid this, fines are imposed to warn people. Under any circumstance, the vehicle owner and the driver are liable in court if there are no insurance papers. If a minor is caught driving a vehicle without insurance papers, he or she will have to pay twice the amount of the fine imposed. This is one of the reasons why minors are not allowed to drive. In a civil court, such cases take one or two days to complete, while in criminal court they can take more than a month to be cleared.” 

According to an Economic Times report, for driving an uninsured vehicle, the fine earlier was Rs 2,000 for the first offense, Rs 4,000 for the second and subsequent offences. 

In spite of the fact that vehicle owners benefit greatly from insurance plans, it’s critical to understand that in unseen circumstances, not only are they getting saved from financial burdens, but they are also helping the third party recover from damage caused to them.

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