Thiruvananthapuram: The AI cameras installed by the Kerala Motor Vehicle Department and Keltron will start penalising the offenders from 8 am on Monday, Transport Minister Antony Raju announced on Sunday. From then on, the cameras will be operational 24x7.
The offences for which the notices will be issued are: helmet-less travel, non-use of seat belts, talking on mobile phones (including using mobiles to take videos while driving), jumping the red signal, exceeding the two-person limit on two-wheelers, speeding and dangerous and inappropriate parking.
The plan is to send at least 25,000 penal notices a day. This is just a fraction of the total violations that would be detected daily on the AI cameras. On June 2, for instance, the AI cameras had detected 2,42,746 (two lakh forty two thousand seven hundred and forty six) road violations.
According to the minister, the number of violations on June 2 was nearly half the violations detected by the AI cameras in the second half of May, when the total number of violations recorded was 4,23,000 (four lakh twenty three thousand). "So we expect the violations to drop even further. This will allow us to clear the backlog of penal notices at a later stage," Raju said. These notices will reach the violators by post.
The minister said that an expert committee that examined the AI cameras had concluded that 692 of the 726 installed were operationally fit.
An appeal provision has been introduced. "The machines, too, can err. So we have decided to introduce an appeal provision. Those who feel that they have been wrongly penalised can appeal to the enforcement Road Transport Officer (RTO)," the minister said. For now, the complaint has to be handed over by hand. "Within two months, the appeal facility will be made online," the minister said.
The minister clarified that for the time being, no penalty would be imposed if a child below the age of 12 travels on two-wheelers with adults. A final decision on this will be taken after the Centre clarifies its position.
However, in a reply to CPM MP Elamarm Karim's letter, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has categorically said that travelling with children on two-wheelers was not permitted.
The minister, however, said that the Centre had not officially responded to Kerala's poser. "We have asked the centre to introduce an amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act to allow one child below 12 years in addition to the rider and the pillion rider. A final decision will be taken after the Centre's stand is officially known," Raju said.
The minister said it was false that the AI cameras would, robot-like, record all images irrespective of whether vehicles have violated the rules or not. "These cameras would record only offences. If you are on a bike with a helmet, the image will not be captured," Raju said.
Fines are subject to auditing, he added."No one is exempt from fines. Only concessions as per central norms will be allowed," the minister told reporters. He said even he was slapped a notice for overspeeding by the Motor Vehicle Department.