Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988: Check rules and their importance

Team Ackodrive6, Jun, 2022

To legally drive your motor vehicle in India, you must follow various rules and regulations. These regulations are as per The Motor Vehicles Act designed by the Government of India. The government makes changes to this act from time to time. Hence, you should keep yourself updated with the latest traffic rules.

This article will help you understand important provisions of The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the new Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.

Motor Vehicles Act

What is The Motor Vehicles Act?

The Motor Vehicles Act states all regulations associated with road transport vehicles as fixed by the Parliament of India. It includes provisions with regards to the motor vehicles’ registration, drivers’ licencing, traffic regulations, violations, penalties, insurance, liabilities, etc.

The Indian Motor Vehicles Act was first passed in 1988. However, in 2017 the Government of India presented the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill after consulting with the state transport ministers. This bill was passed in July 2019 and came into force on September 1, 2019. 

Key features of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

Below is a list of updated provisions in The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.

  • Aadhar is now mandatory in order to obtain a Vehicle Registration and Driving Licence (DL).

  • Children aged above 4 years as pillion riders must wear a standard helmet while riding a two-wheeled motor vehicle.

  • The government shall give increased compensation to the family of accident victims in hit-and-run cases. This compensation has been increased from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakhs now.

  • The least fine for a drunk driving offence is now Rs. 10,000, which was Rs. 2,000 before. The punishment now also includes the possibility of imprisonment.

  • If a juvenile commits a traffic offence, the vehicle owner or the guardian have to face the punishment unless there is proof that they tried to stop the offence or didn’t have knowledge of it.

  • The Central Government has the authority to recall defective motor vehicles that may cause harm to the driver, other people on the road or the environment.

  • An automated fitness test is mandatory for vehicles as per this bill.

  • Increased fines for other serious traffic violations such as rash driving, not wearing helmets and seatbelts. 

Provisions of The Central Motor Vehicles Act and their importance

The Central Motor Vehicles Act includes provisions regarding the licensing of drivers, registration of motor vehicles, traffic control and others. Here is a brief explanation of different provisions as per The Central Motor Vehicles Act and its sections.

Licensing of motor vehicle drivers

  • A person can legally drive a motor vehicle only after getting a Driving Licence issued by the respective authority.

  • Every person must follow the procedure as conducted by the authorised body to obtain a valid Driving Licence. 

Motor vehicle registration

  • Every vehicle must be registered at its respective State RTO (Regional Transport Office).

  • A vehicle owner can drive or allow others to drive his vehicle on Indian roads only after registering that motor vehicle.

Following speed limitations

  • Every vehicle driver must follow the maximum and minimum speed regulations while driving a motor vehicle.

  • Not following the speed regulations as per The Motor Vehicles Act is a punishable offence. 

Obeying traffic signs

  • While driving on the road, every driver must obey the indications given on the traffic signs.

  • This also includes compliance with the directions given by a traffic officer in a public space. 

Safety measures for drivers/riders/passengers

  • While riding a two-wheeler motor vehicle, the rider can have one additional person as a pillion rider. However, it is a must for both riders to follow the appropriate safety measures.

  • The seat of the pillion rider must be fixed properly.

  • Both riders must wear standard protective headgear unless they are Sikh and wear a turban in public places.

  • While driving a four-wheeler motor vehicle, the driver and front passenger must wear seatbelts.

Driver’s responsibility after an accident

In case a vehicle causes third-party injury, death or property damage in an accident, the driver must ensure the following.

  • Ensure medical attention by taking the injured person to the nearest hospital or any other medical facility.

  • Provide all information demanded by an officer and explain the circumstances in detail that led to the accident.

  • Inform the insurer in writing about the location, date and time of the incident, insurance policy number, validity period, details of the third-party injuries/death/property damages, etc.

Motor vehicle insurance 

Every motor vehicle driver must have a valid third-party insurance policy. A person can’t drive or permit others to drive a vehicle unless it has a third-party insurance policy obtained from a credible insurer.

List of key violations in The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019

Currently, all traffic rules in India are imposed as per the new Motor Vehicles Act, 2019. The MV Amendment Act, 2019 has significantly increased the penalties for several traffic violations.

Here are the critical violations and penalties according to the revised act. 

Driving without a DL

If a traffic officer catches someone driving a motor vehicle without a DL, the penalty is Rs. 5,000 (Rs. 500 earlier) as per the revised Motor Vehicles Act, 2019. The new act has increased the penalty for this offence by ten folds. 

Driving with an invalid DL

If a traffic officer finds a person driving a motor vehicle with an invalid/disqualified DL, the new fine is Rs. 10,000 (Rs. 500 earlier) as per the amendment in the act. 

Driving without third-party insurance

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 has also increased the punishment for driving a vehicle without third-party insurance. Earlier, the punishment for this violation was Rs. 1,000 and/or 3 months of imprisonment for first-time offenders. Now, it is Rs. 2,000 and/or 3 months of imprisonment.

For second-time offenders, the punishment is now Rs. 4,000 and/or 3 months of jail time. 

Driving when intoxicated

Drunk driving is considered one of the most serious threats to the safety of people using public roads. Hence, the revised Motor Vehicles Act has increased the penalty and punishment for the same. This decision is directed towards creating safer traffic conditions for everyone.

The first-time offender of this violation must pay a fine of Rs. 10,000 along with the possibility of 6 months of jail time. Moreover, the punishment for a second offence involves Rs. 15,000 as fine and the possibility of 2 years of jail time. 


Overspeeding is another concerning traffic offence that needs attention. Thus, the government has increased the fine for this violation as per The Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.

The fine for overspeeding in the case of Light Motor Vehicles (LMV) falls between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000. However, the penalty for the same offence for Medium Passenger Vehicle (MPV) or Heavy Passenger Vehicle (HPV) is between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 4,000.

Riding without a helmet

A two-wheeler vehicle rider must wear ISI (Indian Standards Institution) approved protective headgear while riding the vehicle. The fine for riding without a helmet is now Rs. 1,000, which was Rs. 100 only before the revised Motor Vehicles Act. 

Violations committed by juveniles

As per The Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, juveniles’ traffic offences result in punishment for the guardian or the vehicle owner. The penalty is Rs. 25,000 for this offence along with up to 3 years of jail time. The vehicle owner loses the vehicle’s registration for a year.

Moreover, the juvenile involved in the offence can’t apply for a Driving Licence until reaching the age of 25 years. 

Difference between the new MV Act, 2019 and MV Act, 1988

The new MV Act, 2019 brought significant changes to the original MV Act, 1988 with higher penalties for many of the offences. Below is a table showcasing the differences in penalties in the old and new MV Act.

Violation New fine as per MV Act, 2019 Old fine as per MV Act, 1988
Riding or driving without a DL Rs. 5,000 as penalty and/or community service Rs. 500
Riding or driving without vehicle registration First offence: Rs. 5,000 - Second offence: Rs. 10,000 -
Riding or driving when intoxicated First offence: Rs. 10,000 and/or imprisonment of 6 months - Second offence: Rs. 15,000 and/or imprisonment of 2 years Rs. 2,000
Racing or speeding First offence: Rs. 5,000 and/or imprisonment of 3 months - Second offence: Rs. 10,000 and/or imprisonment up to 1 year or community service Rs. 500
Overspeeding Light Motor Vehicle (LMV): Rs. 2,000 - Medium/Heavy Passenger Vehicle: Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4,000 along with licence seizure Rs. 400
Riding or driving without insurance First offence: Rs. 2,000 and/or imprisonment of 3 months and/or community service - Second offence: Rs. 4,000 and/or imprisonment of 3 months and/or community service Rs. 1,000
Not wearing a seatbelt while driving Rs. 1,000 and the possibility of community service Rs. 100
Not wearing a helmet while riding (rider and pillion) Rs. 1,000 and/or licence disqualification and the possibility of 3 months of community service Rs. 100
Road regulation violations Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 Rs. 100
Using a mobile phone while riding or driving Rs. 5,000 Rs. 1,000
Dangerous riding or driving First offence: Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000 and/or imprisonment of 6 months to 12 months and the possibility of licence seizure - Second offence: Rs. 10,000 and/or imprisonment of 2 years and the possibility of licence seizure Rs. 100 to Rs. 300
Overloading a two-wheeler Rs. 2000, licence disqualification and the possibility of community service for 3 months Rs. 100
Riding or driving even after disqualification Rs. 10,000 and the possibility of community service Rs. 500
Not obeying orders given by authorities Rs. 2,000 Rs. 500
Oversized vehicle Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 and the possibility of community service -
Blowing horn in a silent zone First offence: Rs. 2,000 - Second offence: Rs. 4,000 -
Overloading a heavy goods vehicle Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 2,000 per extra tonne and the possibility of community service Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 1,000 per extra tonne
An enforcing authority committing an offence Double the penalty (depends on the type of traffic violation) -
Juvenile violations Rs. 25,000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 years for vehicle owners or guardians. Juvenile can’t get a DL until the age of 25 years -
Not letting emergency vehicles pass, such as fire engines, ambulances, etc. Rs. 10,000, and the possibility of community service Rs. 500

Why is there an increase in traffic violation fines?

Negligence towards the safety measures of driving is a concerning matter. Offences such as not wearing seatbelts while driving or entering a ‘no entry’ zone are dangerous for road users. A hike in the penalties for traffic violations increases the chances of people taking the laws more seriously. 

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few commonly asked questions related to The Motor Vehicles Act.

What is the 196 Motor Vehicles Act?


As per the 196 MV Act, driving a vehicle without at least third-party insurance is a punishable offence. The offender for this traffic violation will have to pay a penalty of Rs. 2,000 and/or get 3 months of jail time for the first offence. The penalty goes up to Rs. 4,000 for a second offence, along with the possibility of similar jail time.

What is the 177 Motor Vehicles Act?


As per the 177 MV Act, the fine for regular traffic offences is Rs. 500 for the first violation. The fine for the second violation goes up to Rs. 1,000 as per this act.

What is the 187 Motor Vehicles Act?


Section 187 of the new Motor Vehicles Act, 2019 states that the fine for dangerous driving is Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000 and/or imprisonment of 6 months to 12 months with the possibility of licence seizure. For a repeated offence, the punishment includes a fine of Rs. 10,000 and/or imprisonment of 2 years with the potential of licence seizure.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only. It is recommended to take the help of an expert before making a decision. ACKO Drive is not responsible for any action taken based on the information mentioned here.

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