Driving in India is currently governed by a few legal powers and in some cases it is subject to the passing of a driving test. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which is a branch of the Government of India, is the apex body for formulation as well as administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to road transport, national highways and transport research. This is in order to increase the mobility as well as the efficiency of the road transport system in India.
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Driving rules in India
Unlike most countries of the world, Indian traffic drives on the left. Let’s have a look at the driving rules in India at a glance.
The national upper speed limit is 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph) for cars in India. This is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) for motorcycles, and also varies for other categories of vehicle. Till the year 2014, there was no national upper speed limit for cars in India, as local police set the limits in their own areas. Local governments are still allowed as well as encouraged to set specific limits within their own jurisdiction.
As with the UK ( United Kingdom), traffic drives on the left side of the road in India. Driving under the influence—the limit in India is 0.03% blood alcohol conten. It is a heavily punishable offence to drink and drive in India. A first offence could result in a ₹10,000 fine and or a prison sentence of up to six month or both. A seatbelt should be and has to be worn when driving in cities, but is only advisory elsewhere.
There are basically two broad categories of pedestrian crossing to aid the safe passage across major roads by those travelling on foot.
Traffic Light Controlled Crossings: Drivers are controlled by the traffic light signals.
Zebra Crossings: Black and white stripes are painted on the road which are called zebra crossings. Drivers must give way to pedestrians on priority on the crossing.
Driving licences may be obtained by any citizen of who is 18 years of age or above, subject to certain conditions. Initially, a provisional (learning) licence is issued, which restricts the holder to driving whilst accompanied by a driver who has held a permanent licence in the category of vehicle they are supervising the learner driver. The provisional licence may be exchanged for a full licence on passing a driving test. After the age of 50, drivers may apply to have their licences renewed with a medical/fitness certificate. Foreign driving licences of many countries permits one to drive in India for a period of one year.
Some of the rules of the road should be and has to be enforced by the police. Motorists convicted of certain traffic, and certain non-traffic offences may have ‘points’ added to their licences for some traffic violations, typically warrant three points, and motorists with twelve points face a temporary driving prohibition.
Unfortunately, India is generally considered to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to drive. In 2013, more than 137,000 people died on the roads in India, though the number needs to be weighted against the large population of the country. A representative of Delhi’s Institute of Road Traffic Education said that among the main causes were the lack of traffic management,=. He added “we do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams”, and poor driver training. A 2014 article published by Reuters described a driving test in Delhi which lasts only about two minutes, and involved one examiner testing ten people simultaneously. Peter Foster, a journalist for The Daily Telegraph, recounted that in his experience, fellow drivers paid little heed to the traffic rules , and did anything they could do avoid queuing; succeeding in blocking up more of the road. The wide variety of methods of transportation, and what is often portrayed as a common disregard for the rules of the road, contribute in huge number to the fatalities.