Modification is an art, and we have come across several tastefully modified vehicles in the past. Many of them have been featured on our website as well. However, we all know that any sort of modification is illegal in India, but there are people who modify their vehicles anyway. Cops and the Motor Vehicles Department, especially in Kerala, are very strict when it comes to such situations. Now, the Kerala High Court has come forward, asking the state police to take action against some vloggers who were promoting the use of modified vehicles, including buses with modified LED lights. A division bench comprising Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar has also ordered action against the owners and drivers of such vehicles.
The court stated, “Take stringent action against vehicles, including Government vehicles, which are being used in a public place without complying with the safety standards in the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS)-008. Stringent action shall be taken against the use of altered vehicles in public places, including vehicles brought through Carnet… The vehicles in the screenshots reproduced hereinbefore at paragraph 27 shall also be proceeded against, strictly in terms of the above directions. Appropriate proceedings shall be initiated against the owner and driver of such vehicles and also the vloggers who promote the use of such vehicles by posting vlogs on YouTube and other online media.”
It added, “Motor vehicles which are fitted with after-market multi-coloured LED/laser/neon lights, flashlights, and are being used in a public place, openly flouting the safety standards prescribed in AIS-008, and are capable of dazzling the drivers of oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, and other road users, thereby posing a potential threat to the safety of other road users, have to be dealt with appropriately, strictly in accordance with the law.”
There have been videos and images of modified vehicles circulating online. The court noted that YouTube channels like “AJ Tourist Bus Lover,” “Nazru Vlogger,” “Najeeb Zainul,” and “Moto Vlogger” have been promoting the use of modified vehicles in public places, irrespective of its earlier directions. The court mentioned that this is a serious offense, as such vehicles pose a threat to the safety of other road users. The court asked authorities to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on every unauthorized alteration made to a vehicle. This will be in addition to the penal consequences already provided under the law.
The court was actually hearing a suo motu case initiated based on a report by the Sabarimala special commissioner regarding the functioning of the safe zone project. This spot had witnessed over 40 major accidents, 758 major breakdowns, and 536 minor breakdowns since November 2021. It remains to be seen how the Motor Vehicle Department is going to act in this matter, especially when it comes to the cars that are brought to India via Carnet. The Kerala Motor Vehicle Department has advanced devices like a lux meter, tint meter, and sound meter to check the intensity of the light, sound levels, and also to check for aftermarket sunfilms on cars and other vehicles. Kerala also has AI cameras installed throughout the state to monitor traffic violations.