Centre to bar overloaded trucks on highways

Centre to bar overloaded trucks on highways

The Centre has decided to impose a ban on the movement of overloaded vehicles on highways in the entire country, following complaints of road damage in Karnataka mainly due to the traffic of iron ore-laden trucks.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to identify the entry points to national highways where check posts could be set up to prevent the entry of overloaded vehicles.

At the road safety council meeting held here on Friday, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways C P Joshi asked transport secretaries and commissioners to take action against operators of overloaded vehicles.

Secretary to the ministry R S Gujral has written to chief secretaries in the states to take stern action against operators of overloaded vehicles plying on the roads. The state agencies should invoke the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act to end such menace. He commended the Bihar model where overloaded vehicles are impounded and drivers are arrested under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

“The law mandates off-loading of excess load before compounding the offence. It is compounded without off-loading of the excess load, and thus the overloading practice continues. Overloading must be stopped,” Gujral said in his letter.

Around 70 per cent of cargo moves on national highways and cargo vehicles account or 22 per cent of the road accidents in the country. As per the report “Road Accidents in India-2008” prepared by the transport research wing of the Union transport and highways ministry, the number of road accidents has been rising annually.

Accidents accounted for 1.19 lakh deaths in 4.84 lakh accidents in 2008. The figures for Karnataka are 46,279 accidents in 2008, causing 8,814 deaths. The ministry has been receiving complaints from Karnataka about overloaded iron ore trucks causing accidents as well as damaging highways.

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