THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With elections approaching, one would expect the enforcement drive by the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) to slow down as usual. This time around too, the number of enforcement squads deployed to monitor motorists have reduced. However, the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) in six squads has made enforcement processes sharper. The MVD has leased 65 Tata Nexon EVs from the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) for a period of eight years through the Agency for New and Renewable Energy Research and Technology (ANERT).
“The EVs are comfortable to handle. It makes little noise. The enforcement squad can drive close to the erring motorist, take a picture and issue notice to the vehicle owner’s cellphone using e-challan application,” said K Manoj Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram RTO and enforcement RTO in-charge.According to him, the new method makes it impossible for offenders to deny the offence. Earlier, the MVD officers waiting on the roadside would find it hard to stop speeding motorists as some of them, especially youngsters, would speed away at the sight of the squad.
This time, the enforcement squad will have to plan ahead for the drive as the EVs have to be charged for 11 to 12 hours. The vehicles have a battery life of 200 kilometres. There is a fast charging option that recharges the vehicle in one hour. The MVD has redeployed six fossil fuel-powered vehicles to RTOs in high ranges as the EVs are not suitable for rough terrain.
Focus on safe pillion ride
The RTO enforcement has started a drive to make the district safe for pillion riders by insisting on helmets. The offenders are being issued a notice warning that their rider’s licence will be suspended for three months in case the offence is repeated. They will also be fined `500.“The focus of our enforcement drive is helmet-less pillion riders. The regular issuance of notices has started yielding results,” said Manoj. According to him, 98 per cent pillion riders in the city wear helmets, while in rural areas the compliance level is around 85 per cent.
“There are riders who carry a helmet but wear it only when they see the enforcement squad. EV squads and e-challans have made effective changes,” he said. Riders under 25 years are main offenders. Elderly riders belonging to low socio-economic backgrounds are also among the list of offenders.
The MVD started enforcing helmets for pillion riders in December 2019. Though early offenders were let off with friendly reminders, the department has now started issuing fines. Suspension of licence for three months upon repeated offence has been effective from November. The move is according to Central Motor Vehicle Rules. The enforcement officer can also direct the licence holder to take a refresher course on traffic rules even after the payment of fine. The MVD has started an awareness class for motorists caught for violations.