Comparison of new traffic fines in India against developed countries

What are the new fines for traffic and other road offenses in India? There has been a rise in India in fines for most of the offenses committed on the road. This article discusses how these fines and those in other developed countries compare.

The new motor vehicle act 2019 saw a massive rise in fines for most of the offenses committed on the road. Various transport associations have raised a voice against it as they believe it's going to increases the chances of bribe on highways. There are various memes doing rounds on social media about how the new fines match the standards of developed countries but unfortunately, the roads don't. Some people have also pointed out the difference between the per capita incomes of those countries against India.

New traffic fines in India Vs USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, Germany and Japan

Signal violations

People in India are misers; they just love to save time. If you are someone who spends a good amount of time on the road, you know how true the line above is. Unfortunately, now it's a battle between time and money. You save a few seconds, you lose money. According to the new motor vehicle act, the fine for violating a signal is Rs 5,000. Now if we compare fines for the same offense in the city of New York, it's Rs 3,598. In the case of Hong Kong, it's Rs 5505, UK Rs 8,677, Germany Rs 7,101 and if you are found violating a signal in Singapore, you pay Rs 25,877.

Over speeding

Bikes, cars and even trucks are not supposed to fly, no matter how hard you hit the accelerator. They can drain your pocket by reducing your mileage and the fine for over-speeding has been increased to Rs 2,000 (4,000 INR for heavy vehicles) from Rs 400. So next time you are in a hurry, catch a flight. Now if you compare the fine for over speeding, in the USA it is Rs 10,794 while in Japan you pay Rs 23,699 for flying on road. The numbers for Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and UK are Rs 2,936, Rs 7,736, Rs 789 and Rs 8,667 respectively.

Drunk driving

Love driving after the consumption of alcohol? Love to have a can of beer with you on a long drive? Think again. The new motor vehicle act has increased the fines for drunk driving from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. Drunk driving can cause harm to your body and car, and if you escape both these, it's surely going to harm your wallet now. Coming to the topic, even after the inception of new rules, the fine for drunk driving is nowhere close to what they are in developed countries. The fines for this offense in those countries are more than India's per capita income of 1.5 lacks. The fine for drunk driving in Japan is a whopping Rs 6, 77,115 while in Singapore its Rs 2, 58,771. In the USA you pay Rs 1, 79,905 while in Germany, the UK and Hong Kong you pay Rs 1, 18,359, Rs 2, 16,929 and Rs 2, 29,376 respectively.

No parking violation

How many times we have to suffer because half of the roads are occupied by cars and bikes which are parked there? Whether Delhi or Gorakhpur, this problem persists in every city to some extent. Life is a nightmare for those who have to drive through these roads every day. The roads in B and C grade towns of India are still so narrow and the unauthorized parking makes them inaccessible at times. The new motor vehicle act states that you have to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 for such parking violations and if you compare this fine with those in countries like the USA, UK and Germany, it's still not that much. In America you pay 5,397 INR for the same offense while in countries like Hong Kong, UK and Germany it's Rs 18,350, Rs 7,809, Rs 5,523 respectively.

Driving without a license

Driving license is not just a card to prove your identity. They exist as a proof that a driver is skilled enough and mentally as well as physically fit enough to drive. Unfortunately, there are lots of ill practices going on at RTO's in India and most of the licenses are acquired through agents without going through proper training or test. There are several people out there who have a driving license and they can't drive at all and on the other hand, there are many who can drive but never cared enough to get a license. Such people need to rush towards the RTO offices because the fine for not having a license while driving has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000. Now if you believe it's too much, the fine for the same offense in Singapore is Rs 5, 17,543 while in Japan you pay Rs 2, 03,134 for driving without a license. The fines for the same in the USA and UK are Rs 21,588 and Rs 86,671 respectively.

Driving without Insurance

According to the online portal of Money Bhaskar, 1.25 lack people bought online insurance for their vehicles within the first four days post the inception of new motor vehicle act. Now if you look at the figures, it's positive news. There's no harm in getting insurance for your vehicle, in fact there are benefits, and even kids know that these days. Still, if you believe it's just a piece of paper, get ready to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 and maybe three months in jail. Now if you compare the fines, In USA you pay a hefty amount of Rs 1, 07,943 for driving without insurance and the fine for same in Singapore is Rs 51,754. In the UK, you pay a fine of Rs 26,031 for driving without insurance.

Is it unfair?

The argument that the fines are unfair to the Indians is baseless. Comparing the fines against per capita income makes no sense. These fines are not taxes and you are not supposed to pay them if you follow the rules. All these rules are there for the safety of people and back in the times when there were no strict fines, people took them lightly. You don't go to jail if you don't murder someone and similarly you don't pay a fine if you have all the papers and protection. If you are someone who trusts the stats, helmets and seat belts save lives. There's a misconception among Indians that if it's your day, you are going to die but you must remember that there's a difference between an accident and a suicide.

Why is it so tough for us to follow the laws? It's simple, we as a nation have to change the way we look at things. Yes, it's a fact that roads in India are nowhere close to the standards of developed countries and the corruption on our roads are ever-increasing but to get rid of these problems, we need to question the government based on these same topics of roads and corruption. We can't ridicule the government for asking us to follow the rules.

Note:The figures are converted from the currencies of respective countries to INR based on the exchange rates of 6th September, 2019.


Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao28 Sep 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

A very good article and an eye-opener to the people who always criticise the government for imposing higher amounts as fines. In our country, the population is very high and the traffic is very high when compared to many other countries. So people should be more careful and they should follow the traffic rules more scrupulously so that they never cause inconvenience to fellow travellers. So, I feel in our country fines should be much higher than in other countries.
Some may argue that the road conditions are very good in other countries whereas in our country they are not good. I think this argument is no good. Violating rules as the roads are not good is in no way acceptable. You follow the traffic rules and then fight with the government for creating good infrastructure.
The rates in other countries are very much on the higher side than the fines in our country. So I am in complete agreement with the point of the author that the fines that are imposed are very high is baseless.

Author: K Mohan13 Feb 2021 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

The author has made a very good comparison of traffic fines that are imposed in India with that of other developed countries and in this regard, I wish to say that India being a big country, the usage of vehicles is more and there are more violations and mistakes committed while driving. Therefore there need to be strict rules in force to check the erring drivers. Though the rich and affluent know that after eleven in the night they are bound to be stopped and checked for drunk and drive case, yet they would not budge and commit the crime and eventually get arrested and the vehicle gets ceased. This is happening on almost all weekends in Hyderabad and only the rich persons are caught in the crime.

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