The Motor Vehicles Department will cancel the fitness certificate of stage carriers that do not have mandatory speed governors.

The decision by State Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh follows preliminary findings by top officials of the Motor Vehicles Department that speeding by the mini-bus had resulted in the death of 13 in a road accident at Perinthalmanna on Friday.

Official sources told The Hindu that the decision has been communicated to all field staff. Sources said there had been an increase in accidents caused by speeding by stage carriers and rash and negligent driving. Last Friday, eight persons were killed when a private bus rammed an autorickshaw at Tanur.

Initially, it was decided to impose penalty on stage carriers that were not equipped with speed governor or where these were found tampered with and to cancel the fitness certificate if they continued to violate the rules.

As per rules, all heavy vehicles, including stage carriers, have to install speed governors. But, the MVD had not been taking effective steps over the years to prevent tampering with of the speed governors.

Tampering

Speed governors in stage carriers are usually tampered with so that the vehicles can travel faster and increase fare collection by picking up more passengers. The gadgets in the majority of the buses are either tampered with or are not working. “When the stage carriers are brought for CF test, the speed governors would be working. Later, they are detached to attain high speeds, an official said.

The speed limit of all heavy vehicles, including KSRTC buses, is fixed at 60 km an hour and the gadget is sealed to prevent tampering. Endorsement has to be made in the Registration Certificate (RC). The manufacturer and the dealer who install the gadget jointly issue the certificate.

Road safety experts say the MVD personnel can check the speed governors if it procures a programmer that costs Rs.1,000 instead of depending on speed radar or driving the vehicles. The programmer is a handset-like device and it can be connected to the electronic control unit to find whether the speed limit fixed had been tampered with.

Another issue that has to be addressed by the MVD is the excessive use of mini-buses as stage carriers in the northern districts. Mini-buses with less seating capacity are used as stage carriers to make money as they cover almost 600 to 700 km daily.

MVD officials said permits are given only to those mini-buses with dual wheels (six-wheeler) as the chances of toppling are on the lesser side in the case of a mishap.