In a major move to deter plying of overloaded vehicles on highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to force them off the road till the extra load is removed at the cost and risk of transporters.
This will be in addition to levying of penal charges of ten times the applicable fee at the toll plazas that is presently being imposed on overloaded vehicles, an official statement said.
Apart from curbing accidents the move is also aimed at bringing down vehicular pollution arising out of overloaded goods carriages.
"So far, the NHAI toll contractors/concessionaires, citing lack of space at toll plazas and other practical difficulties, have not been off-loading trucks and were only charging 10 times penalty for overloading," it said.
"As per instructions issued by NHAI, from now onwards, the overloaded vehicles will not be allowed to cross the toll plaza but will be towed away and parked at designated place at the owner/driver's risk and cost," the statement said.
The vehicle will be released only after the owner/driver pays the penalty equivalent to ten times the applicable fee, undertakes to off-load the extra weight and pays NHAI charges for towing and parking at prescribed rates, it said.
Also, if the vehicle remains unclaimed for seven days, it will be handed over to the concerned police station. "The NHAI has directed all its toll plaza contractors and concessionaires to ensure strict compliance of the instructions. NHAI has also directed to ensure wide publicity to the instructions through newspaper advertisements and sign boards in English/Hindi/Vernacular languages erected at the toll plazas," it said.
The latest measures shall be effective deterrent in curbing operation of overloaded vehicles on National Highways. "These shall also ensure further compliance of the ban on overloaded vehicles by the Supreme Court," it said. This move will also significantly bring down road accidents as overloaded vehicles are one of the major contributors to fatal accidents. It will also prevent premature damage to National Highways and bring down vehicular pollution arising out of overloaded goods carriages.
In India, about 5 lakh road accidents every year claim 1.5 lakh lives and another 3 lakh are crippled for life.