On the wrong road trip

On the wrong road trip

Showing off

On the wrong road trip

Faulty: Fancy number plates, which are a common sight in the City, attract a penalty. When it comes to accessorising one’s vehicle, there are people who go all out and use the fanciest of items that are available in the market. There are also some enthusiasts who go that extra mile and get fancy number plates. These number plates come in all shapes and sizes, in different backgrounds and fonts. The main reason for using them, many say, is because they add visual appeal to the vehicle.

Not only are these plates expensive but they deviate from the standard specifications provided by the Regional Transport Department (RTO). According to the
Motor Vehicle Act, a two-wheeler licence plate (commonly known as number plate) should have a font size which is five mm in thickness and 30 mm in height, while the required font size of a four-wheeler is 65 mm in height, 10 mm in width with a 10 mm gap between each letter and number. Four-wheelers should also have the letters ‘IND’ in bold on the right-hand side of the number plate.   
Narayan from the RTO says that the number plate is the identity of the vehicle. “That’s why, when on the road, if there has been a violation of any sort, the number plate provides enough information about the owner of the vehicle,” he says.

Narayan goes on to add, “From the thickness and size of the aluminium plate to the height and width of the font used on the number plate, everything has been specified by the RTO and even given to the owners while registering. But it is the traffic police who monitor the violation.”  

A lot of experimenting is done on the font. While many go in for italics font, there are some who get the numbers done in the form of letters. There are also those who get tiny plates with such small fonts that they are hardly visible. The price of getting a fancy number plate varies and depends according to the design, model and the size of the font. For a four-wheeler it is anywhere between Rs 1,200 and 12,000 and for a two-wheeler, the charge is anywhere between Rs 650 and Rs 2,500. Anil, who makes number plates, says that a well-designed number plate does complete the look of the vehicle. But he adds that it should serve the purpose of being identified on the roads.

“We do get some customers who like to go a bit overboard and insist on getting small fonts but we advise them against it. Some listen and some feel that they can get away with it on the roads. Ultimately the decision is left to them,” he adds.

 Dipendra Singh Jain, an IT Consultant, says that he would rather stick to the rules than take a chance on the road. At the same time, he admits that he has come across people who go for fancy number plates only to escape from the police. “I have spoken to people who say that it’s easier to escape from the police when you have a fancy number plate as in that hurry, it’s not easy to take down the vehicle number,” he adds.

The Bangalore Traffic Police do monitor the number plates and they also have a fine of Rs 100 for faulty number plates. “Often criminals write the number of the vehicle in such a way that it becomes difficult to identify their vehicles and this can mislead the cops. We have now become more vigilant about such issues and keep a constant check on the roads. People must understand that number plates are the identity of the vehicle and not all about style,” sums up a traffic constable in the central division.