Admit tracking vehicles without the speed-limiting device is a tough ask

Though the Transport Commissioner has issued a new circular to Regional Transport Offices to crack the whip on vehicles operating without speed governors, the Motor Vehicles Department authorities are finding it difficult to enforce the law.

Speed governors are mandatory for all heavy vehicles, including stage carriages, buses owned by educational institutions and tipper lorries, to prevent over-speeding.

A senior MVD official told The Hindu that while it was easy to check whether speed governors were fitted in vehicles or not, it was tough to verify the cut-off speed set in the machine. Speed governors are required to be set at a cut-off speed of 40 km per hour in buses run by educational institutions and 60 km per hour in other heavy vehicles.

The companies that supplied speed governors were supposed to provide the Regional Transport Offices with a hand-held equipment to determine the cut-off speed set in each machine. But companies had reneged on that promise, the official said

“Now we have to depend on speed radars to track vehicles that have set speed governors at a higher speed limit. Vehicles speeding above the permissible limit can be spotted using the radar. The other alternative is to inspect each vehicle. MVD officials have to drive each vehicle to track errant vehicles. This is time consuming and inconvenient to all parties concerned,” the official said.

Despite the odds, MVD officials have been taking firm action against violations. The Ernakulam RTO alone has registered more than 50 cases in the past two months.

“Since we neither allow registrations nor issue fitness certificates to vehicles without speed governors almost all vehicles have fitted the device. The commonly detected offence is to disconnect it. The vehicle operators often give the excuse that the use of speed governors made it difficult for vehicles to go up steep roads,” the official said.

MVD officials slap violators with fines ranging from Rs.3,000 to Rs.5,000.

The official said speed governors were likely to be redundant once an amendment to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules making the cut-off 80 kilometers per hour came into force next year. M.B. Satyan, State president, Kerala Private Bus Operators Federation, admitted that speed governors were disconnected from vehicles.

“That’s because the machine develops snags almost daily forcing cancellation of trips, which has a direct impact on our returns. The problem is that the government had identified 11 companies for supplying speed governors. But all except two have not set up a system for after-sale service and maintenance,” he said.

Even the two companies’ presence was limited in the State. This meant that faulty speed governors reported in the morning got repaired only by evening and that too for a fee. This was in addition to the annual service of speed governors for which Rs.5,000 was charged. “So, when faults recur operators are faced with paying a huge bill,” Mr. Satyan said.

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