Motor Vehicle Act 1988: Rules, Penalties, Amendments, and More

Motor Vehicle Act 1988 - BimaBandhu

The simplest way to make people follow certain rules and guidelines is to add both rewards and punishments to them. Particularly when it is about saving the lives of people on the road, the rules have to be strict and well-documented. This is where Motor Vehicle Act 1988 came into the picture for Indians.

What is the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) 1988?

The Motor Vehicle Act refers to the Act of our Indian Parliament that covers various aspects related to road transport vehicles. It was passed in the year 1988, hence the name and has been in effect since July 1, 1989, all over India. It was preceded by its earlier versions, namely the Motor Vehicle Act 1939 and the Motor Vehicle Act 1914.

Motor Vehicle Act 1988 contains all the rules and guidelines related to the licensing of drivers/conductors, motor vehicle registration, provisions to control permits, traffic regulations, insurance, penalties, and much more. The Act also makes it mandatory for every driver to have a valid driving license and the vehicle must be registered under it.

What are the Offences Covered under The Motor Vehicle Act?

Different offences or violations are covered under different sections of this Act. Some of them are defined as:

New Vs. Old Traffic Violation Fine Comparison

Section Offence Old Provision/Penalty (in Rs.) New Provision/Penalty (in Rs.)
177 General 100 500
New 177 A Road regulation violation 100  500
178 Traveling without ticket 200 500
179 Not following or disobeying the orders of


500 2,000
180 Unauthorised use of vehicle without a license 500 5,000
182 Driving without being qualified to drive 500 10,000
182 B Oversize vehicle 500 10,000
183 Driving at a higher than the allowed

speed limit

400 1,000 for LMV

2,000 for medium passenger vehicle

184 Dangerous driving 1,000 Up to 5,000
185 Drink and drive  2,000 10,000
192 A  Driving a vehicle without permit Up to 5,000 Up to 10,000
194 B  Not using seat belt 100 1,000
194 C Overloading of two wheelers 100 2,000
194 D Not using helmets 100 1,000
196 Driving without insurance 1,000 2,000

**You can find more details about different offences and the related sections of the Motor Vehicle Act on the government website. 

More About Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill

The Indian Parliament passed the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill in July 2019 to make amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The amended Act then later came into force from Sep 2019 and resulted in the increase in several fines related to traffic violations. It also specified safeguards for Good Samaritans, vehicle owner liability for infractions committed by juveniles, and more.

Also known as the Motor Vehicle Act 2019, the amended Act aimed at deterring drivers from improper behavior and ensuring better road safety all over India.

Proposals Brought Forward in the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill

  • Having Aadhar as a mandatory requirement to procure a registration certificate or driving license
  • Compensation for the families related to hit-and-run cases being raised from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 Lakhs
  • Provisions for good samaritans who help accident victims for protection against criminal or civil liabilities 
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide insurance cover to all road users for certain types of accidents
  • No cap on liability for third-party insurance (previously capped at Rs. 5 Lakh for serious injury and Rs. 10 Lakh for death)

What are the Changes in the Motor Vehicle Act 2019?

Several changes have been made in the Motor Vehicle Act 2019, most of which are meant to increase the fine or penalty on traffic rule violations considerably. This is aimed at making people think twice about violating the rules and regulations related to road safety. Most of the changed penalties are covered in the table given above.

Increasing these fines is particularly meant for people who are best at breaking the traffic rules. When they know that they will have to pay a huge fine,  they are more likely to be conscious while on the road.

What are the New Additions to the Motor Vehicle Act 1988?

  • Motorists would be fined Rs. 2,000 or a jail term of up to 6 months if they are involved in a crash and fail to take the victim to a nearby hospital in case there is no mob around.
  • Several offences, such as speeding, rash driving, riding without a helmet, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or using a mobile phone while riding/driving can result in the on-the-spot suspension of the offender’s driving license.
  • For first-time offenders, the fine is up to Rs. 5,000 or a jail term of 6 months for offences covered under the Motor Vehicle Act. On continued rule violations, the offence will lead to a fine of up to Rs. 10,000 or a jail term of two years.
  • Driving or riding a vehicle without a valid motor insurance policy would result in a fine of up to Rs. 2,000. If a vehicle owner continues with subsequent offences, the fine will be Rs. 4,000. Besides this, victims of a car crash by an uninsured vehicle would be liable to receive compensation from the offender/vehicle owner.

Some Other Important Sections in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988



112 Covers laws related to the maximum speed to drive a motor vehicle
113 Covers laws related to the weight permitted to be carried in a vehicle
129 Covers the law for motorcyclists to wear a helmet while riding
134 Covers the duties of a vehicle driver to report an accident to the police and help the injured in getting medical service
185 Covers law that forbids drivers to drive vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Learn About the Importance of Motor Insurance at Insuropedia

Irrespective of the vehicle you possess, you must know about the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, particularly different sections that cover motor insurance. In India, many people still do not have the basic form of insurance, which can be considered one reason behind the amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act. Fairly heavy penalties may seem like a burden to drivers and make them realize the importance of abiding by the rules related to road safety. 

You can get more insights about car insurance and bike insurance from Insuropedia guides.

Recommended Read: All About Motor Insurance


What is the purpose of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988?

Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 lays down the foundations of road safety through its different sections that detail offences and related fines/penalties.

What are the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act?

There are several provisions under this Act, one of which caters to making valid third-party insurance mandatory for all vehicles on the road.

What does Section 113 of MVA 1988 cover?

It covers laws that enforce the maximum weight that can be carried by a vehicle.

What is the fine for cutting lanes while driving?

You will have to pay a fine of Rs.100 to 300 on being caught cutting lanes while driving.


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