Fancy fonts on vehicles a big headache for cops

Fancy fonts on vehicles a big headache for cops

Of the 90 lakh traffic offences booked in the city in 2016 and 2017, 'defective number plate' accounts for 62,785 and 2.44 lakh respectively.

The traffic police say vehicles with defective number plates are everywhere. "We have booked 1.23 lakh cases in the first three months of this year. Most offenders are between 18 and 30 years," confirms R Hithendra, additional commissioner of police (traffic).

The penalty for using a faulty number plate is just Rs 100, and that could be a reason the offence is difficult to curb, he says. The number plates are easy to change and manipulate. "In case of a crime, they are quickly changed to mislead the investigation," he says.

The use of fancy fonts and reflective number plates is common.

B Dayananda, commissioner for transport and road safety, says the RTO directs people to use the appropriate number plates as stipulated in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules. "There are people who later modify the number plates according to their fancy," he says.

The market is flooded with places where people can get these defective number plates made. Areas like Kamaraj Road, J C Road, SJP Road and Shivajinagar are where this trade thrives.

Ustad Khan, a shopkeeper in Shivajinagar, says "We get many orders for fancy number plates. We have at least 1,000 fonts. And the plate itself can be cut and shaped in different ways," he says.

Fancy number plates for two-wheelers cost between Rs 300 and Rs 2,000 and between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000 for cars. Reflective and shiny number plates are available on Kamaraj Road and J C Road.

Roopendra K, who runs a sticker shop on Kamaraj Road, says, "We know it is illegal but we are still in the business because there is a demand for it." He charges Rs 200 for a two-wheeler plate and Rs 1,500 for a four-wheeler one.

Dayananda says he can't act against such shops. "We don't have the powers to raid and close businesses," he explains.

According to Central Motor Vehicles Rules

IND Number plate should be 1.0 mm thick in aluminium.
Edges and corners are rounded.
It should say 'IND' in blue on the extreme left.
Plate should last at least for five years.
It shouldn't have stickers and adhesive labels.

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