Kerala to give more teeth to MVD's enforcement wing to check alarming accident rate

Motor Vehicle Department
Motor Vehicle Department

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has decided to give more powers to its enforcement wing with the aim of reducing accidents on the state’s roads. Following the new move, regional transport officers (RTOs) and joint RTOs in the enforcement wing would be given additional responsibilities such as carrying out inspections of accident spots and sharing the preliminary findings with the police. These powers have so far been wielded only by RTOs and joint RTOs in charge of Regional Transport Offices.

RTOs and joint RTOs in the enforcement will also have powers to suspend the licence of drivers violating traffic rules. Till now, such cases were reported to the RTOs in charge of offices for necessary action.

At present, the main task of the enforcement wing is detecting traffic violations and imposing fines, for which targets have been set. However, following the new move of the MVD, officers under the enforcement wing have been directed to focus on bringing down the number of road accidents.

There are 85 enforcement squads in Kerala, which collect around Rs 60 crore annually as fines. These squads had been complaining to their higher-ups about lack of adequate powers to penalize a large number of violations.

Incidentally, the accident rate in Kerala which had fallen steeply during the lockdowns imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic is spirally up again.

Road mishaps are a major issue of public concern in Kerala as the state has a very high proportion of vehicles to the population. While the national average is 21 vehicles for every 1,000 people, the figure is a whopping 450 vehicles for the same number of people in Kerala. Moreover, Kerala tops the country in annual vehicle growth rate, at 15 per cent.

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