Now, photocopies too can be used to suspend licences of rash drivers in Maharashtra

Thought you can break traffic rules on the highway and get away without getting your licence suspended for three months by providing a photocopy? The state highway traffic police have got that loophole covered.

The transport commissioner, in a recent order, asked all Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) to suspend even photocopies or scanned copies of licences , to boost their drive to reduce accidents on national highways, which started last November.

This, however, has given rise to another problem. As the drivers will still have the original document and the suspension details can be found only when the traffic police check their online records, the violators could still misuse it.

Transport commissioner Shekhar Chenne said so far original licences were required for suspension, but now they can even act on a photocopy or scanned copy, in case there is no possibility of obtaining the original licence. According to official statistics, of the 2,44,883 cases, only 28,809 licences have been sent for suspension. “Records of suspension of licences will be visible on the system,” said Chenne.

On asking how the police will ensure the driver does not misuse his original licence, Vijay Patil, superintendent of police (highway safety), said if the driver’s licence is suspended using a photocopy and he is caught a second time with the original licence, it will be sent for revocation.

As part of its special drive, the police, in collaboration with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), surveyed the highways, identifying black spots (accident-prone spots) after the Supreme Court appointed a committee under a retired judge to make highways safer and reducing accidents and deaths by 10%. A special panel was set up in 2014 by the Supreme Court to monitor and measure the implementation of road-safety laws in the country. It had said drivers guilty of jumping signals, talking on mobile phones, and violating helmet, seatbelt laws, among other offences, should have their licences suspended. The rule has already been implemented in Delhi and Goa.

Traffic police said it began cracking down against violations such as speeding, using mobile phone while driving, jumping signals, drink driving and carrying passengers in goods vehicles, overloading, which were the major causes of accidents.

Patil said licences are confiscated under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, read with Rule 21 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, disqualifying the offender from holding a licence for a specified period.

After the committee filed the report, every traffic police branch was instructed to forward maximum licences for suspension, which led to the recent order.

Patil said the number of licences sent for suspension was low as many drivers do not carry their original driving licences. “The RTO demands original licences for suspension,” said Patil.

According to officials, another problem is that on many occasions, the drivers are from different states and their licences have to be sent to their RTOs, which makes it difficult based on the rules of that place.

First Published:
May 26, 2019 23:58 IST

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