Laws for Safe Driving on Road

No driver of a motor-vehicle shall use or answer the cell phone while driving the vehicle. Rules 21(6)(25) of the central motor vehicles rules 1989 when read with the directions of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court on the matter, make it amply clear that the said act can be charged under both s. 177 (for violation of rule 193a) as well as s. 184 (for dangerous driving) of MVA’88.

* Rule 21(6) of the central motor vehicles rules 1989 states that if the ‘driver, while driving a transport vehicle, engages himself in activity which is likely to disturb his concentration he would be guilty of the commission of an act that ‘shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public’. * Rule 21(25) of the central motor vehicles rules 1989 states that the act of ‘using mobile phone while driving a vehicle’ shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public. Note: Rules 21(6)(25) of the central motor vehicles rules 1989 have been laid down with reference to s.

19 (1)(f) MVA’88 that defines the circumstances under which the licensing authority may invoke the powers to disqualify the holder of a driving licence from holding the driving licence or to revoke such licence. Yet, the said rule provides a valuable guideline for determining as to what kind of driving would constitute dangerous driving under s. 184 MVA’88. It may be considered reasonable, therefore, to treat the act of using a mobile phone while driving (an activity that may safely be assumed to cause a disturbance to the driver’s concentration) as an instance of dangerous driving chargeable under section 184 MVA’88.

The matter is further clarified by the clear direction of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in the cwp no. 7639/95- Nimit Kumar vs Chandigarh Administration and others & cwp no. 10591 of 1999 that reads as follows: ‘no person while driving a vehicle of any kind including two-wheelers shall use cellular phone…’ any person found violating this direction, shall be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with Law under the contempt of Courts act as well as for violation of traffic regulations.

| | | | | LAW ON ALCOHOL/DRUG IMPAIRED DRIVING| | | | What is the Law? In India, any person having in his blood, alcohol exceeding 30 mg per 100 ml. of blood as detected in a test by a Breath Analyzer, or being under the influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of exercising proper control over the vehicle, is liable to be charged for impaired driving under Section 185 MVA’88. The punishment for the same can extend upto 2 years imprisonment and/or fine up to Rs. 3000/-.

More significantly the court convicting a person for the offence of alcohol/drug impaired driving shall disqualify him from driving for a period of at least 6 months. The court shall cancel his driving license in case he is again convicted for the same offence. The Licensing Authority may also likewise suspend/revoke his driving license. The drugs that are deemed to render a person incapable of exercising proper control over a motor vehicle as specified by the Central Government include – Central Nervous System Depressants (Cocaine & Cannabis), Hypnotic Sedatives, Narcotic Analgesics (Morphine etc.), Psychotropic drugs (LSD), Stimulants & Tranquilizers (Diazepam etc. ).

Who can ask you to take a Breath Test? A police officer in uniform or an officer of the Motor Vehicles Department, as may be authorised in this behalf by that department, may require any person driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle in a public place to provide one or more specimens of breath for breath test there or nearby, if such police officer or officer has any reasonable cause to suspect him of driving under the influence of alcohol/drug.

In case the motor vehicle being driven by such a person is involved in an accident in a public place he may be asked to provide one or more specimens of breath for breath test at the hospital (in case he is hospitalized) or otherwise on the spot or at the nearest Police Station. If it appears to the police officer in uniform, in consequence of a breath test so carried out by him on any such person that he has alcohol in his blood beyond the permissible limit, he may arrest that person without warrant except while that person is hospitalized.

The police officer can also arrest such a person if he refuses to or fails to take the breath test. In case of heavy intoxication the suspect may actually ‘fail to’ provide a specimen of his breath, as most devices require a fairly long and continuous blowing of breath into the mouthpiece. Any person so arrested must, within two hours of his arrest, be subjected to a medical examination by a registered medical practitioner (described below) failing which; he must be released from custody. What is a Breath Test?

A ‘breath test’, means a test for the purpose of obtaining an indication of the presence of alcohol in a person’s blood carried out on one or more specimens of breath provided by that person, by means of a device of a type approved by the Central Government. When does one take a Laboratory Test? The breath test is, however, basically a preliminary screening test of the suspect to be followed by a more reliable and confirmatory Laboratory Test. The preliminary screening is necessary as it is not practicable to administer a full-fledged laboratory test in the field conditions.

The preliminary screening makes the basis for the police officer’s suspicion more scientific, objective and credible, thus minimizing the possibility of any innocent of being unnecessarily subjected to the inconvenience of a laboratory test. The police officer may thus require any person, who has been arrested for alcohol/drug impaired driving, while he is at the police station, to provide to such registered medical practitioner as may be produced by such police officer, a specimen of his blood for a laboratory test.

Presumption Of Unfitness To Drive: If it is proved that the accused, when requested by a police officer at any time to do so, had refused, omitted or failed to consent to the taking of or providing a specimen of his breath for a breath test or a specimen of his blood for a laboratory test, his refusal, omission or failure would be presumed to be proof of the fact that he/she was indeed driving in an alcohol/drug impaired condition. What are Breath Alcohol Testing Devices? When a person drinks an alcoholic beverage, about 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and about 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine.

After absorption, the alcohol enters the bloodstream and dissolves in the water of the blood. The blood carries the alcohol throughout the body. The alcohol from the blood then enters and dissolves in the water inside each tissue of the body (except fat tissue, as alcohol cannot dissolve in fat). Once inside the tissues, alcohol exerts its effects on the body. The observed effects depend directly on the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), which is related to the amount of alcohol consumed. The BAC can rise significantly within 20 minutes after having a drink. Once absorbed by the bloodstream, the alcohol leaves th e body in three ways:

The kidney eliminates 5 percent of alcohol in the urine, the lungs exhale 5 percent of alcohol, which can be detected by breathalyzer devices and the liver chemically breaks down the remaining alcohol into acetic acid. As a rule of thumb, an average person can eliminate 15 ml of alcohol per hour. The BAC increases when the body absorbs alcohol faster than it can eliminate it. Alcohol intoxication is legally defined in terms of the level of BAC. However, taking a blood sample in the field for later analysis in the laboratory is not practical or efficient for detaining drivers suspected of driving while impaired.

Urine tests for alcohol are just as impractical in the field as blood sampling. What is needed is a way to measure something related to BAC without invading a suspect’s body. The Breath Alcohol Testing Devices provide one such non-invasive technique of estimating the BAC with great accuracy. Principle of Breath Testing: Alcohol that a person drinks shows up in the breath because it gets absorbed from the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. Alcohol is not digested upon absorption, nor chemically changed in the bloodstream.

As the blood goes through the lungs, some of the alcohol moves across the membranes of the lung’s air sacs (alveoli) into the air, because alcohol will evaporate from a solution — that is, it is volatile. The concentration of the alcohol in the alveolar air is related to the concentration of the alcohol in the blood. As the alcohol in the alveolar air is exhaled, the breath alcohol-testing device can detect it. Instead of having to draw a driver’s blood to test his alcohol level, an officer can test the driver’s breath on the spot and instantly know if there is a reason to arrest the driver.

Because the alcohol concentration in the breath is related to that in the blood, you can figure the BAC by measuring alcohol on the breath. The ratio of breath alcohol to blood alcohol is 2,100:1. This means that 2,100 milliliters (ml) of alveolar air will contain the same amount of alcohol as 1 ml of blood. The legal standard for drunkenness across the United States ranges from 0. 10 to 0. 08. If a person’s BAC measures 0. 08, it means that there are 0. 08 grams (i. e. , 80 mg) of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The American Medical Association says that a person can become impaired when the blood alcohol level hits 0.

05. Exhaled air can be categorized into essentially three types of samples: Tidal Breath air (the normal shallow breath), Reserve Breath air (exhaled on exertion-faster but not deeper breathing) and Alveolar Breath air (deep lung air). Since breath testing instruments are intended to measure indirectly the concentration of alcohol in the blood, it is essential for accuracy that the breath sample captured by the instrument for analysis be representative of the air in the alveoli of the lung, because it is in the alveoli that the 2100:1 equilibrium ratio between alcohol in the breath and alcohol in the blood occurs.

Types of Breath Alcohol Testing Devices: There are three major types based on different principles of working. Regardless of the type, each device has a mouthpiece, a tube through which the suspect blows air, and a sample chamber where the air goes. The rest of the device varies with the type. Breathalyzer – uses a chemical reaction involving alcohol that produces a color change. To measure alcohol, a suspect breathes into the device.

The breath sample is bubbled in one vial through a chemical mixture which changes colour when it reacts with the alcohol; the degree of the color change is directly related to the level of alcohol in the expelled air. To determine the amount of alcohol in that air, the reacted mixture is compared to another vial of un-reacted mixture in the photocell system, which produces an electric current that causes the needle in the meter connected to the photocells to move from its resting place.

The operator then rotates a knob to bring the needle back to the resting place and reads the level of alcohol from the knob — the more the operator must turn the knob to return it to rest, the greater the level of alcohol. Intoxilyzer – detects alcohol by Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy that identifies molecules based on the way they absorb IR light. Molecules are constantly vibrating, and these vibrations change when the molecules absorb IR light. The changes in vibration include the bending and stretching of various bonds.

Each type of bond within a molecule absorbs IR at different wavelengths. So, to identify ethanol in a sample, you have to look at the wavelengths of the bonds in ethanol (alcohol) and measure the absorption of IR light. The absorbed wavelengths help to identify the substance as ethanol, and the amount of IR absorption tells you how much ethanol is there. Alcosensor III or IV – detects a chemical reaction of alcohol in a fuel cell. The fuel cell has two platinum electrodes with a porous acid-electrolyte material sandwiched between them.

As the exhaled air from the suspect flows past one side of the fuel cell, the platinum oxidizes any alcohol in the air to produce acetic acid, protons and electrons. The electrons flow through a wire from the platinum electrode. The wire is connected to an electrical-current meter and to the platinum electrode on the other side. The protons move through the lower portion of the fuel cell and combine with oxygen and the electrons on the other side to form water. The more the alcohol that gets oxidized, the greater the electrical current that is produced.

A microprocessor measures the electrical current and calculates the BAC. Roadside Sobriety Tests: The common physical/mental manifestations of alcohol/drug impairment may be assessed through standardized roadside tests to identify impaired persons. The commonly used tests in the U. S. include- HGN Test & Divided Attention Tests. HGN Testing- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occurs naturally as the eyes gaze to the side. Under normal circumstances, nystagmus occurs when the eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles.

However, when a person is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles. An alcohol-impaired person will also often have difficulty smoothly tracking a moving object. In the HGN Test, the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object such as a pen or small flashlight, horizontally with his eyes. The examiner looks for three indicators of impairment in each eye: if the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly, if jerking is distinct when the eye is at maximum deviation, and if the angle of onset of jerking is within 45 degrees of center.

If, between the two eyes, four or more clues appear, the suspect likely has a BAC of 0. 10 or greater. Divided Attention Tests- require a suspect to listen to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements. Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention to be divided between simple mental and physical exercises that are easily performed by most sober people. Walk-And-Turn Test: The subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction.

The examiner looks for seven indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions, begins before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, uses arms to balance, loses balance while turning, or takes an incorrect number of steps. One-Leg Stand Test: The suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc. ) Until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for a 30 seconds.

The officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down. | | | | | SAFETY HELMETS| | | | Why Wear A Safety Helmet? A safety helmet is one of the most important items of personal protective equipment used by motorcycle riders primarily to protect the head against impact. In year 2003 there were 72 deaths of two-wheeler drivers/pillion riders due to road accidents in U. T. Chandigarh. The number of those injured would be at least ten times this figure.

If these individuals had been wearing helmets, many of these deaths and disabling injuries would not have happened. Helmets won’t prevent accidents, but they clearly will cut down on deaths and injuries when collisions occur. Components of the Helmet and Their Roles Typically, a helmet has the following components: The Shell: the shell of a helmet is an injection molded thermoplastic or a pressure molded thermo set that is reinforced with glass fibers or made of fiber glass. * It absorbs energy in an impact: the shell bends when the helmet is impacted and the underlying foam deforms.

At moderate speeds the shell can take one-third of the impact energy. * It distributes local forces from an impact: rigid objects like stone or a projecting beam can cause a skull fracture at low forces, the shell acts to distribute the force of such impact eliminating the risk of penetration. * It allows sliding on road surfaces: the shell being rigid and having a convex shape allows the helmet to slide along a road surface without there being an excessive force. * It protects the face and temples: full-face helmet is beneficial in protecting the face and jaw.

The chin bar of such helmets contain rigid foam to absorb energy for direct blows on the chin, prevent facial bone fractures and prevent the lower part of the forehead and temple being struck. The Protective Padding: this is a molding of polystyrene beads or polyurethane foam. It provides a stopping distance for the head. The foam can compress by 90% during an impact, although it recovers partially afterwards. But this helps increase the stopping distance thus reducing the peak deceleration of the head. It also protects as much as possible of the head.

In addition to this there is a layer of comfort padding to provide comfort to the wearer. Proper Strapping System: It is essential to wear a well-fitting helmet for the effective working of chinstrap system. To test if the helmet fits your head properly, tightly fasten the chinstrap and then pull helmet off forward by gripping the rear and then pulling. The strap must be threaded correctly so that the buckle locks the strap when it is pulled from the chin side. The strap must be pulled as tight as is bearable under the chin. What Does the Law Say?

Section 129 Motor Vehicles Act ’88 Wearing of Protective Headgear: Every person driving or riding otherwise than in a side car, on a motor cycle of any class or description, shall, while in a public place, wear protective headgear conforming to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards: Provided that the provisions of this section shall not apply to a person who is a sikh, if he is, while driving or riding on the motorcycle, in a public place, wearing a turban: Provided further that the state government may, by such rules, provide for such exceptions as it may think fit.

Explanation: ‘protective headgear’ means a helmet which- a. By virtue of its shape, material and construction, could reasonably be expected to afford to the person driving or riding on a motorcycle a degree of protection from injury in the event of an accident; and b. Is securely fastened to the head of the wearer by means of straps or other fastenings provided on the headgear. Rule 193 Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules’90 Use Of Protective Headgear:

Every person driving or riding a motor cycle of any class or description shall wear a protective headgear approved by the bureau of Indian standards from time to time provided that in addition to the persons exempted under the provisions of section 129 (MVA’88), persons who are medically advised by P. M. O. not to wear such a headgear in case exempted by the District Magistrate or a woman shall not be required to wear a headgear. Explanatory Notes: The BIS & the ISI mark: The provisions of section 129 MVA’88 and rule 193 Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules ’90 require the protective headgear to conform to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards.

The law thus requires that all protective helmets for motorcycle riders should meet or exceed the minimum performance requirements specified in the corresponding Indian Standard (IS: 4151 in case of protective helmets). These requirements include minimum impact and penetration capabilities; chin strap retention qualities, and a prescribed minimum field of view. To certify that their helmets meet all the requirements of IS: 4151, the manufacturers place the standard mark on the back of each helmet. This mark is often referred to as the “ISI mark”.

The standard mark comprises the single coloured symbol of the type shown below having a width-to-height ratio of 4:3. The number of the corresponding Indian Standard with part/section, if any, which is unique for each product, is written on top. This number in case of protective helmets for motorcycle riders is IS: 4151. The standard mark for all protective helmets would thus appear as follows- The licence number (a seven digit number, represented as cm/l-_________) is also given with the standard mark.

This helps in identifying the particular manufacturer/licensee, which has manufactured the product. E. g. , Studds Accessories Ltd. one of the licensees for manufacturing protective helmets has been allotted the licence no. Cm/l-9169691. This number is displayed along with the standard mark on all helmets manufactured by it.

Thus a Studds helmet would bear the mark- The Bureau of Indian Standards has hosted the complete BIS directory of licensees on its website www. bis. org.in from which any consumer can directly download the list of licensees for the manufacture of protective helmets for motorcycle riders. Chin Strap: The clause (b) of the explanation to section 129 MVA’88 stipulates that the protective headgear should be securely fastened to the head of the wearer by means of straps or other fastenings provided on the headgear. The wearer of an improperly fastened helmet can be punished for driving/pillion-riding without helmet.

This provision of law can be used by enforcement agencies to check the practice of drivers of two-wheelers (especially teenaged ones) to leave their helmets unstrapped or loosely strapped. Turban: The proviso to section 129 MVA’88 stipulates that the requirement for wearing protective headgear protective headgear shall not apply to a person who is a sikh, if he is, while driving or riding on the motorcycle, in a public place, wearing a turban. Thus sikh drivers/riders (male) are exempted from wearing safety helmets only when wearing a proper turban and not when wearing parna, patka etc.

Women drivers/pillion riders: Total exemption is given by rule 193 Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules ’90 to all women from the requirement of wearing protective headgear while driving/riding two-wheelers. Judicial Pronouncements On The Issue Of Exemptions| The Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court had restricted the exemption only to ‘sikhs wearing turban while driving’ in its order dated 9-7-98 in CWP No. 7639 of 1995 titled Namit Kumar Versus UT Chandigarh & others. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its recent order dated 27-9-2004 in civil appeal no.

3700 of 1999 (arising out of CWP 7639 of 1995) has, however, directed that ‘if any exemption is granted to any person including sikh women from any of the motor vehicles rules relating to different states or areas under any statutory rule the same shall operate notwithstanding the directions of the high court that all persons including women shall wear helmets. ‘ | Pillion rider: section 129 MVA’88/ rule 193 Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules ’90 stipulate that the driver as well as the pillion rider shall wear protective helmets while driving/riding a motorcycle.

Motor cycle: sub-section 2 of section 27, MVA’88a defines ‘motor-cycle’ as a two-wheeled motor vehicle, inclusive of any detachable sidecar having an extra wheel, attached to the motor vehicle. Penal Provisions: The violation of any of the provisions of section 129 MVA’88/ Rule 193 Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules ’90 would constitute an offence punishable under s.

177 MVA’88. Section 177, Motor Vehicles Act ’88 General Provision For Punishment Of Offences – whoever contravenes any provision of this act (i.e. MVA’88) or of any rule, regulation or notification made there under shall, if no penalty is provided for the offence be punishable for the first offence, with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees and any second or subsequent offence with fine which may extend to three hundred rupees. | | | | | SMOKING & DRIVING| | | | What does the Law say? Rule 193b Chandigarh Motor Vehicle Rules 1999Prohibition of smoking No driver of a motor vehicle shall smoke while driving the vehicle.

Rule 21(14) Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 TThe act of ‘smoking while driving public service vehicles’ shall constitute nuisance or danger to the public. Rule 21(6) Central motor Vehicles Rules 1989 If the ‘driver, while driving a transport vehicle, engages himself in activity which is likely to disturb his concentration he would be guilty of causing nuisance or danger to the public’. Rules 21(14) & 21(6)of the Central Motor Vehicles rules 1989 has been laid down with reference to s.

19 (1)(f) MVA’88 that defines the circumstances under which the licensing authority may invoke the powers to disqualify the holder of a driving licence from holding the driving licence or to revoke such licence. Yet, the said rule provides a valuable guideline for determining as to what kind of driving would constitute dangerous driving under s. 184 MVA’88. It may be considered reasonable, therefore, to treat the act of smoking while driving (an activity that may safely be assumed to cause a disturbance to the driver’s concentration) as an instance of dangerous driving chargeable under section 184 MVA’88.

The matter is further clarified by the clear direction of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court in the CWP no. 7639/95- Nimit Kumar vs Chandigarh Administration and others & CWP no. 10591 of 1999 that reads as follows: ‘no person while driving a vehicle of any kind including two-wheelers shall use cellular phone and also shall not smoke. ‘ Any person found violating this direction, shall be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with law under the contempt of courts act as well as for violation of traffic regulations. | | | | | LAW ON USE OF SUN FILM| | | |.

As per the provisions of sub-rule (2) of Rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 the glass of the windscreen and rear window of every motor vehicle has to be such and be maintained in such a condition that the visual transmission of light is not less than 70%. The glasses used for side windows have to be such and be maintained in such condition that the visual transmission of light is not less than 50%. The flagrant violation of the above said rule by use of extremely dark coloured sun films/tints on window glasses of cars led to the issuing of directions by the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court on the matter in CWP No.

7639 of 1995 – Nimit Kumar versus Chandigarh Administration and Others. The Hon’ble High Court restricted the use of ‘Black Films on Window Glasses’ to cars of only those persons/ VIPs who needed to use such films to avoid serious security hazards. The Hon’ble Court authorised the Director General of Police or an officer duly authorized by him in this behalf (not below the rank of Additional Director General of Police) to issue permissions for the purpose to such persons under his seal and signatures. Consequent to this Court directive, permissions for use of black films were issued by way of special authorization stickers.

The question that remained unsettled was whether these persons facing security risk could be permitted to use films darker than what was stipulated by the Central Motor Vehicle Rules. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its recent order dated 27-9-2004 in Civil Appeal No. 3700 of 1999 (arising out of CWP 7639 of 1995) has directed that the mandate of sub-rule (2) of Rule 100 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 has to be kept in view by the law & order enforcing agencies while laying down any security requirement. | | |.