India’s Crackdown on Overloaded Trucks

India's crackdown on overloaded trucksOverloaded trucks can still be seen on Indian roads despite the order of the Honourable Supreme Court of India that placed a blanket ban on the movement of such vehicles in 2005. However, bringing slight relief to the prevalence of overloaded trucks is the crackdown on errant vehicles which is slowly but surely starting to turn things around. The implementation of the blanket ban on overloaded trucks has unfortunately not had an equal impact in the various Indian states. As the states have been given a partial free hand to deal with overloaded trucks, the results have, until now, been quite far from satisfactory.

Some states have allowed overloaded vehicles to carry on driving after they paid a penalty. The State of Rajasthan has drawn criticism from several agencies as it allowed overloaded trucks to carry on after simply paying the fine. On the other hand, the state of Gujarat was commended on its use of technology to effectively monitor and weigh overloaded trucks at several points and stopping them from driving if they were overloaded. The state of Bihar set another example by initiating criminal proceedings against those found guilty of driving overloaded trucks on its highways.

The states of Karnataka and Goa have threatened to revoke the licenses of the mineral ore mines if trucks are found carrying more than they are authorized to. The highways of Karnataka have suffered severely and high accident rate on them prompted the central and the state governments to take action. The effect of the ban has trickled down to the various cities of India as transport officials and police are seriously tackling overloaded vehicles.

It is not only the highways and expressways that suffer damage, as a lot of overloaded vehicles drive within the cities to avoid law officials. The Regional Transport Office of Pune (RTO) initiated a special effort against overloaded vehicles on all major roads of the city. Nearly 375 vehicles were impounded and fined by the RTO in June, collecting nearly 62.70 Lakhs INR (approx 125,400 USD) in fines from the offenders. The strict watch by several squads in the city, connecting roads and major highways of Pune-Satara, Pune-Mumbai, Pune- Nasik and Pune-Solapur seems to be paying off.

If Pune, in the western part of the country has taken enforcement against vehicle overloading seriously, Bokaro is also trying its best to stop the practice in the eastern belt of India. The transport department of Bokaro, in the state of Jharkhand has also launched its initiative against overloaded vehicles. Being a city in the mining and industrial belt, trucks overloaded with minerals and materials from coal, steel, and cement factories used to be a common sight.

Overloaded vehicles should be a thing of the past with new laws banning overloaded vehicles from highways coming into effect soon. Overloaded vehicles accounted for 20 percent of the road accidents reported in 2011 and 23 per cent of deaths. It is high time that overloaded trucks are stopped in their tracts.