Illegal alteration of vehicles to attract hefty fine

Stricter enforcement follows complaints about threat posed by altered vehicles to other road users

April 24, 2022 10:10 pm | Updated April 25, 2022 12:21 am IST - KOCHI

Violations also include alteration of rickety two-wheelers as goods carriers, mainly to transport plastic and other waste.

Violations also include alteration of rickety two-wheelers as goods carriers, mainly to transport plastic and other waste. | Photo Credit: John L. Paul

A flat fine of ₹7,000, for causing noise pollution and illegal alteration, will be imposed on riders of motorbikes and other two-wheelers, which are found zooming past without silencer, sources in the Motor Vehicles department (MVD) said.

It is being seen as a follow-up action on Operation Silence, which the MVD had launched in February this year.

Enforcement officials had earlier been given the discretion to charge lesser amounts as fine for such violations. The stepping up of enforcement against rule violators came in the wake of widespread complaints about the threat posed by such motorists, most of them youth, to the safety and health of other road users. Most enforcement squads have decibel meters to measure the noise emitted by vehicles and their horn.

Official sources said rule violations like removing the silencer or illegal alteration could be detected even without decibel meter. In most cases, owners remove the catalytic converter portion of the silencer, and a hollow tube of the same dimension is welded together to resemble a proper silencer. This violation can be detected by poking a stick into the silencer. The noise specified for each vehicle, including that of the horn, is mentioned in Form 22. It should not exceed that limit, they added.

A senior official of the city traffic police said it was often tough to nab such rule violators, since many of them do not stop for inspections. “They would in most cases have damaged number plates to evade surveillance cameras, or even removed them. They can be detected if members of the public send photos of such vehicles and riders.”

Rickety vehicles

There are also instances of rickety two-wheelers being altered as goods carriers, mainly to transport plastic and other waste. A few such are often seen on the NH Bypass, driven by workers from other States.

“Many of them are due for scrapping and ought to be de-registered by now. They would not be worth even ₹2,000. We recently seized one such vehicle. Such vehicles pose danger to the riders and other road users, since they could suffer brake failure,” said Bejoy Peter, a motor vehicle inspector (MVI) attached to the enforcement squad in Ernakulam.

Similar is the case with diesel autorickshaws, which ought to be scrapped after they are 15 years old. Passengers will not get insurance cover if such vehicles are involved in accidents.

“Fitting extra-wide tyres, which protrude outside the body of cars, too is an offence, since they alter the steering angle / geometry, even affecting the centre of gravity of the vehicle. Retrofitting spurious alloy wheels too can be dangerous. Put short, the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications are the best for safe and smooth driving,” Mr. Peter said.

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