Saturday, July 8, 2006

good motoring
Get your number plates in order
H. Kishie Singh

The Chandigarh Police is always on a challaning spree against some offence or another. And, why not? Traffic is getting heavier, the new breed of car is faster and, sadly, drivers are simply not aware of rules. And if they are, they choose to ignore them.

A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has projected that by 2020, road accidents will be the third biggest killer. Thatís really bad news. We can take some sort of medicines for the killer diseases but what can we do about car accidents? Drive carefully and safely. Itís that simple.

And that is one of the reasons the police is always challaning violators. One of the reasons for challaning is number plates. This is an important part of your carís pedigree. If your car is stolen, lost or misplaced, the only way it can be identified is by the number plate. So pay attention to this item or get challaned.

The change of format for the current number plates dates back to a Government of India notification No. 221(E) dated March 28, 2001, which outlined the size, colour and format of the number plate. Since then there have been various challaning drives against illegal number plates. People have feigned ignorance about the size, colour and format of the requisite plates. They have requested extensions for implementation and the police have granted these extensions. Some people have gone to court, but to no avail. The law is quite clear on this issue and your number plate must be as follows:

First, the material used must be aluminum of 10 mm thickness. Nothing else is acceptable. One would think that a steel plate would be better. Steel rusts, aluminum does not; aluminum is also more fire resistant to the type of fire that a car is subjected to. In addition, the recommended plate has the figures, both alpha and numeric, embossed or pressed on it. In case it is destroyed by fire, the numbers can be traced out on paper. The police know how to do this. Plastic plates, stickers and hand-painted numbers are not acceptable. The plates should be unbreakable and unremovable after fire and accident.

One way to make sure that the plates are unremovable is to use bolts with Philips head. Once you have tightened the bolts, fill the groves with m-seal. This makes sure that there are no groves for a screwdriver to fit into.

The number plates can be of two types. Single line, horizontal. In this case the plate must be 500 mm long and 120 mm wide. The thickness of the lettering must be 10 mm. The font must be Helvetica Bold. In case you have to write the numbers in two lines, the size of the plate must be 320 mm x 200 mm. As shown in the illustration, the state code CH and registering authority code 03 form the upper line. The actual number of the car U2234 comes in the second line.

The writing should be in English, both alpha and numerical. No other language or lettering is acceptable.

For private vehicles, the background colour of the plate must be white, the lettering black. All commercial vehicles must have a yellow background with black lettering.

Temporary registration plates should have red writing on a yellow background. In case you are towing a trailer or a caravan, the number of the towing vehicle should be displayed on the rear of the towed vehicle.

The Chandigarh police has issued notices to motorists many times. The last one on June 24, 2006, carried in this paper, gave motorists 15 days to comply with the rules. You have been warned. The fine for two-wheelers is Rs 2000 and Rs 3000 for four-wheelers.

Happy motoring.