Commercial vehicles in TN lack fitness certificates
Section 56 of the Motor Vehicle Act restricts commercial vehicles from plying on Indian roads without obtaining a valid FC from their respective Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). Vehicle owners have to renew it every year.
Despite accounting for more than 40% of the road accidents in the state, nearly 18 percent of commercial vehicles operating on Tamil Nadu’s roads do not have a valid fitness certificate (FC).
Section 56 of the Motor Vehicle Act restricts vehicles from plying on Indian roads without obtaining a valid FC from their respective Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). Vehicle owners have to renew it every year.
However, of the 11 lakh commercial vehicles registered in Tamil Nadu, more than 2 lakh do not have FCs, according to Union road transport ministry data.
“In most cases, violators are let off with a fine of less than 1,000 rupees and the vehicle is seized only in the case of road accidents,” said advocate VS Suresh who deals with cases relating to road safety.
Experts have also raised concerns over the manner in which these FCs are issued.
Kamal Soi, member, national road road safety council said, “Nearly 60 parameters are supposed to be tested before issuing an FC to a vehicle and it would take at least an hour to do so. But an RTO issues nearly 200 to 300 FCs a day and this indicates that most of them are being sold.”
To eliminate this, the Centre had set October 2018 as the deadline to set up automatic vehicle fitness testing centres. However, hardly any progress has been reported by Tamil Nadu in this aspect, he added.
Vehicle owners on the other hand argued that the data doesn’t reflect the status of abandoned and condemned vehicles. Besides this, some vehicles would have been seized by financiers or banks for non-payment of loans or EMIs, said C Dhanraj, secretary of the State Lorry Owners’ Federation.
Advocate Suresh said that not owning a FC becomes an issue for vehicle owners only in the case of road accidents as insurance firms do not approve claims in such instances. It is the accident victims who suffer the most in these cases, he added.