High-security number plates for vehicles in the offing

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   (2012-05-11 00:00:00)

KERALA:The State's Transport Department is toying with the idea of making it mandatory for new vehicles to have high-security registration number plates.

This comes close on the heels of banning sun-control films on vehicles, following a Supreme Court order. By introducing standardised tamper-proof number plates attached with a hologram, the department intends to hold motorists more accountable for their actions. This is because many vehicles used for crimes and those involved in hit-and-run cases get away scot free because road users are unable to read their illegible number plates. Vehicle theft too can be considerably reduced once the new norms take effect.

A high-ranking official in the Motor Vehicles' Department (MVD) said that a decision would be taken based on the final verdict of the Supreme Court on the issue. “The mode of implementing the proposal is yet to be decided. Initially, the high-security number plates are likely to be mandatory for all new vehicles. This is among the topics that would be discussed at a meeting that would be convened by the Transport Commissioner on May 15,” said the Ernakulam RTO, T.J. Thomas.

The new number plates are likely to be priced around Rs. 1,000 (for cars). Currently, slack rule enforcement has resulted in vehicles sans proper number plates and those with their number plates hidden (sometimes using the rear under-run – a crash barrier fitted in goods carriers to prevent smaller vehicles crashing into lorries) having a heyday in the State's roads. Even worse, the number plates of concrete-mixer lorries, water tankers and container lorries are often smeared with mud or grease. This makes it tough to detect their whereabouts in the wake of hit and run accidents or when they are used for smuggling goods.

That apart, the manufacturers of many two wheelers and autorickshaws are providing number plates that have very little space to legibly paint their registration number.

With numerous hit and run and other cases being reported in the State, we intend to begin a special drive to keep tab of vehicles sans proper number plates, Mr. Thomas said.

The number plates mooted would have unique safety features and any attempt to tamper it would be near impossible, said the Joint Director of the Institute of Driver Training and Research, Edapal, and former Deputy Transport Commissioner M. N. Prabhakaran.

“The one-mm-thick reflective Aluminium plate would be self-destructive; it cannot be fastened to the vehicle once it is taken away. The board at the rear is fitted with a non-reusable snap lock to make it tamper proof.”

The registration number has to be embossed on the plate. There would be a chromium hologram to prevent counterfeiting, he said.