Motorists caught using mobile phones while driving will have to regret more as the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) is going to opt for tougher punitive measures by completely replacing its conventional fine imposing system with the long- and short-term suspension of driving licences.

The stringent decision comes from the department in the wake of rising number of road accidents due to the reckless use of mobile phones.

As per the official figures, the Enforcement Squad of the department suspended 42 licences during flash inspections as part of a trial run within the Regional Transport Office limits of Kozhikode, Vadakara, Kannur, and Wayanad, last month. The MVD officials said the inspections would be made a regular exercise under all RTO offices and there would not be any relaxation on the suspension of licence in such cases.

Regional Transport Officer Rajiv Puthalath who also holds the additional charge of the Deputy Transport Commissioner said the licence of light motor vehicle drivers would be suspended for three months if caught using mobile phones while driving. “In the case of heavy vehicle drivers, it will be six months, as their negligence can endanger the lives of more people,” he added.

The RTO said the details of persons whose licences were suspended in connection with such cases would be marked permanently in the Motor Vehicles Department records and it would be counted while delivering any other future RTO services to those persons.

“If the violations are found to be repeated, it would certainly have a negative impact on that person’s profile with the department and it might even affect a possible career in the government sector,” he cleared.

K.M. Shaji, Regional Transport Officer (Enforcement), said action would be taken through proper legal measures against those who try to evade the checking process by speeding away in their vehicles.

“Several youths have found it as a habit, and it will certainly be dealt with stringent action,” he affirmed.

In the last month, the Enforcement Squad registered 1,400 cases within the limits of Vadakara, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Wayanad Regional Transport Offices. Of these, majority belonged to the category of negligent driving, over-speeding, and riding bikes without helmet. The department collected Rs.20.43 lakh as fine.

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