Thiruvananthapuram: Motorists on Kerala roads need to be extra vigilant as the AI cameras installed by the Motor Vehicle Department to check traffic violations have gone live from midnight. Those caught on camera breaking traffic rules will be penalised after being served a challan though an appeal can be filed within 14 days if they are sure they were not in the wrong.
The motorists would not get an SMS immediately upon finding a traffic violation. This would take seven to 13 days. In the first stage, the operator in the control room confirms if it is a violation by assessing the AI camera image/visual. This would be sent to the central server at Thiruvananthapuram. The Traffic official will approve the same after which the challan would be sent to the vehicle owner by SMS and by post.
An appeal can be filed within 14 days after receiving the challan with the respective Enforcement wing of the Regional Transport Office of the jurisdiction where the violation was found. Those who go for appeal need to pay a fine only after this step.
Appeal provision to prevent misuse
The provision of appeal has been brought in to prevent the misuse of vehicle registration numbers. An innocent motorist can be implicated if someone else uses the registration number of the former’s vehicle. In such cases, notices for traffic offences will be sent to the owner of the original vehicle who didn’t indulge in the violation.
If those who receive the notices are sure that they haven’t driven their vehicle through the route or committed the traffic offence, they can file the appeal before the District Enforcement Authority. In such cases, they can directly examine the CCTV images of the offence recorded in the Control Room.
If it’s ascertained that the person in question didn’t commit the offence, then the District Regional Transport Office (Enforcement) is empowered to cancel the fine notice then and there.
Though the Centre has stipulated that high-security number plates should be fixed compulsory on all vehicles, the same has been made mandatory by the State only in the case of newly registered vehicles.
The facility to file online appeals will be introduced within two months, the officials said.
SMS alert, notices by post
Upon detecting a traffic violation, the same will be intimated to the vehicle owner through an SMS. Besides, notices will be issued by post to their registered address. Those who receive the challans can remit the fine online or by directly arriving at the RT offices. Those vehicles caught again in AI cameras without remitting fines will be included in the banned list.
The fine to be levied for each vehicle being caught violating the traffic rules is decided by a virtual court based in Kochi set up by the Motor Vehicle Department.
No one will be exempted: Minister
No vehicles, except those listed in the emergency category, will be given an exemption, said Transport Minister Antony Raju.
Even my vehicle was served with a challan and I had remitted the fine, the minister said. My vehicle was issued a notice for unauthorised parking at Aristo Junction in the capital city on a day when my son was using it.
The law is equal for all and no VIP will be given undue consideration, the minister pointed out. He lashed at the Opposition for raising corruption allegations with regard to the project.
“The Opposition leader and a former Opposition leader are raising the same as part of a dispute between them over seniority,” he taunted.
No fine for emergency vehicles
The vehicles included in the emergency category are exempted from fines. The same includes ambulances, vehicles of the Police, Fire Force, and Disaster Management wings. If the vehicles of ministers need to pass on an emergency basis, police pilot vehicles will ply before them. In such cases, the fines won’t be levied.