Mumbai: If you have a fancy number plate on your vehicle, beware. It could land you in trouble. Since January traffic police in Mumbai have fined 2,272 vehicle owners for irregular plates.
On Monday the department sent a text message to all 2,272 offenders, saying: “Your vehicle was challaned for having an illegal number plate. We hope you have changed it to standard one, as per Rule 51 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Please ensure this to avoid repeat challans or further action.”
The department has put in place a follow-up mechanism and will take further action if the owners don’t comply, Madhukar Pandey, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), told Mirror on Monday.
The Motor Vehicles Act has a strict set of rules on number plates. For example, plates should be readable. Registration letters and numbers should be in black on white background for two wheelers. Fancy lettering is not permitted, neither are names or pictures.
“Many a times numbers on registration plates resemble words,” an officer said. “For instance, 4141 can be made to look like the Marathi word ‘dada’. Similarly 2124 and 4912 can be ‘spelled’ Sharad and Pawar in Marathi. The number 8055 can be made to look like ‘boss’ in English. The makers of number plates come up with these ideas by playing around with fonts, sizes and letters. But this is a clear-cut violation of rules,” he added.
Traffic police find it hard to read such plates, especially at night, the officer said. “Imagine a situation where a car speeds across a police check post, at night, without stopping for the mandatory checking. The policemen will have trouble noting down the details of the vehicle. What if this vehicle has a big, bold DADA displayed across the plate? It would be very hard to track such a vehicle,” he said.
On many plates, the numbers are so small that it is difficult to read them, he said. The department will crack down on such rule-breaking and ensure motorists comply, he added.