| invisible threat |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 5: If you’re heavy, you should be visible from a kilometre away.
The Regional Transport Office (RTO), Bhubaneswar, will launch a drive this month to penalise heavy vehicles plying without retro-reflective tapes.
The reflective tapes have a layer of radium that is meant to make the vehicles visible from a distance of up to one kilometre.
The new standard tapes were made mandatory for all transport vehicles in 2009 following the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. But the state transport department only made the tapes mandatory for heavy vehicles in March last year. According to the prescribed standards, transport vehicles should have a white tape on the front fender, and a red one on the back. Besides, both sides of the vehicle should have yellow tapes.
Regional transport officer (Bhubaneswar) Lal Mohan Sethy said heavy vehicles plying without these tapes were denied annual fitness certificates. “We will launch a drive this month to penalise heavy vehicles operating without reflective tapes. A fine of Rs 300 will be imposed on violators,” said Sethy.
Sources at the RTO said that not only private buses, government-run buses in the city had also not put on the tapes. “A private agency has been given the job of putting the tapes when the vehicles go for fitness tests. You need to play just Rs 640 to put the tapes on a vehicle,” said an official at the RTO.
Sources in the state transport department said most accidents during night occur because of low visibility. “There are many instances of speeding vehicles colliding into vehicles parked on the road at night. With the national highway passing through the city, it has become necessary for vehicles to fix the tapes,” said an official.
General secretary of the All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association Debendra Sahu said they would support the drive. “Buses operating in the state have fixed the tapes of their own accord to minimise the chance of accidents. Stringent action should be taken against violators,” said Sahu.
At present, more than 7.5 lakh vehicles, including one lakh transport vehicles, are registered with the Bhubaneswar RTO. More than 1,200 buses ply in the twin cities.