The Kerala Lok Ayukta, a judicial forum constituted to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration, has directed the heads of the departments of Police and Motor Vehicles to order rigorous checks on buses conducting stage carriage services. This is to ensure that its drivers strictly adhered to the timing schedules specified in the route permits issued by the Regional Transport Authority concerned.

Acting on a complaint filed by Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM) president P.A. Joseph, Lok Ayukta M.M. Pareed Pillay and G. Sasidharan directed Director General of Police and the Transport Commissioner to take a series of measures, including checking the road worthiness of vehicles, to ensure the safety of citizens.

It directed them to take action against over speeding, driving without headlights, failure on part of motorists to dip head lights on approaching vehicles, overtaking through the left side and overtaking vehicles on segments where such manoeuvres are prohibited. Hazardous parking of vehicles should also be prevented, the order stated.

It said the departments should prevent trucks and other vehicles from transporting cargo, chiefly hay, steel and timber, in a dangerous fashion. Law enforcers should not allow overloaded vehicles to ply on roads.

The State should conducted surprise checks to find out whether the lights, windshield wipers, tyres, brakes and rear lights of vehicles were in working order. Electronic devices for discerning the speed of vehicles, speed detecting radars, should be deployed at important junctions and along key road segments.

The departments should identify accident black spots in the State and make necessary improvements in the road design prevent accidents. The police should intensely check critical road segments along National and State Highways, it said.

Mr. Joseph said in his complaint that public transport vehicles, both private as well as State-owned, and goods vehicles were driven in a rash and negligent manner with little or no concern for traffic rules or the safety of other road users, including pedestrians and two-wheeler riders.

He alleged that the departments concerned rarely took stringent action against the law-breakers. The authorities rarely cancelled the licences of errant drivers or suspended or cancelled the permits of stage carriages and goods vehicles involved in fatal accidents. He said 2,467 persons were killed and 28,000 injured in accidents in the State in 2009.