GPS, panic button must for existing vehicles too

GPS, panic button must for existing vehicles too

The Union government's rule making panic button and vehicle tracking devices compulsory for transport will also apply to existing vehicles, the state transport department has clarified.

Speaking at an event here, Transport Minister D C Thammanna said the department will soon initiate an action plan to implement the rule aimed at providing emergency response as well as tracking traffic violations like overspeeding.

The notification by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had said that the rule will come into force for new vehicles from January 1. The state government was allowed to take a call on installation of devices in the existing vehicles in a time-bound manner.

As per the rule, about 10 lakh transport vehicles, including one lakh buses, 3.3 lakh taxies and over 2.5 lakh trucks and lorries have to instal the device, which is estimated to cost between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000.

In buses and taxis, the panic button can alert the central control room and the global positioning system (GPS) device will help monitor traffic violations like overspeeding and reckless driving. In goods vehicles, the device will also check the load of the vehicle and alert the control room on overloading.

Asked whether the state had the required infrastructure to track lakhs of vehicles, Transport Commissioner V P Ikkeri said they will look into the tenders called by other states and incorporate the systems into the action plan. "There will be initial hiccups when we start anything new. But steps will be taken to address the issues that we are likely to face," he said.

The government's order on retrofitting devices in all existing transport vehicles is likely to draw opposition from the private transport sector, which also questioned the preparedness of the department.

Noting that the original order on GPS and panic button came in 2016, Bangalore Tourist and Taxi Operators' Association president Radhakrishna Holla said measures in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2017 were being implemented in piecemeal.

As per the new rule, only AIS-140 certified devices are recognised.

"What about those who installed devices before this notification? It is an unnecessary financial burden on lakhs of people who earn their livelihood in this sector. The government should focus on checking the unauthorised operators," he added.

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