THE NUMBER of fitness certificates issued or renewed to vehicles have come down by 10 per cent in the past one year in the city, while road accidents have witnessed a rising trend over the past two years.
A fitness certificate that deems a vehicle fit to be used is obtained by the owner from any Regional Transport office (RTO). It includes a test of brakes, lights and other parts of the vehicle. Fitness certificates are to prevent accidents due to snags in the vehicle.
The total number of fitness certificates registered in greater Mumbai has come down from 1,29,758 in 2013-14 to 1,16,391 in 2014-15. Even in Thane region, the number of certificates has come down from 29,4174 in 2013-14 to 23,2123 in 2014-15.
Mumbai has witnessed a rise in the number of accidents in the past two years. With a 3.50 per cent increase in accidents, the number has risen from 22,557 to 23,347 in 2015. Thane and Navi Mumbai regions have also witnessed a rise in accidents over the past two years.
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Buses and trucks are included in transport vehicles, while rickshaws, taxis and cars come in the non-transport category. The number has come down drastically from 39,486 registered fitness certificates in 2013-14 to 429 in 2014-15 for non-transport vehicles in greater Mumbai.
Transport experts quoted the lackadaisical attitude of vehicle owners to be a reason for the decline. “People are lazy when it comes to regular checking of fitness certificates of vehicles. Also, traffic police feel necessary to ask for certificates only if the vehicles violates some rules. There should be a systematic mechanism which will intimate every RTO and vehicle owner about renewing their fitness certificates,” A V Shenoy, transport expert said.
Many RTOs have conducteddrives in the past two years about checking the age of vehicles and a number of rickshaw and taxi licences were revoked for using vehicles beyond their fitness life.
Transport authorities,on the other hand, claim that they had enhanced stringent measures to renew fitness certificates of vehicles.
“Many times, RTO officers observe a casual attitude while giving away fitness certificates. To add to it, vehicle-owners avoid taking one to avoid paying for the same. To curb this, we made checks more stringent around offices to see to it that officers scrupulously check each vehicle while giving fitness certificates,” said transport commissioner Shyam Wardhane.
Adding to how technology can make the system more transparent, Ashok Datar, another transport expert, said, “There is an urgent need of a system of understanding vehicle’s records. In seconds, the vehicle’s records must be known by traffic police of any vehicle and no delay must occur in that. Also, validity to renew a non-transport certificate must go up to every five or ten years from every fifteen years.”
A fitness certificate must be renewed every year for a transport vehicle and every fifteen years for a non-transport vehicle. One may face a penalty of Rs 1,000 if the date has already crossed, which stays for 10 days and from 11th day the charges will be Rs 100 per day.
To ensure further that commuters take fitness certificates for their vehicles, the transport authorities have brought in a maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 for Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Rs 20,000 for non-MMR regions for taxi-owners if they tend to renew fitness certificates by July 15,2016.
Demands of making daily road-accident count on the website more transparent were also made by transport experts. “We are only waiting for the Road Safety Bill to be passed as soon as possible in the monsoon session of Parliament. The bill overcomes loopholes of Motor Vehicles Act and makes road safety more accountable,” Datar added.