The amended Motor Vehicle Act has just raised fines to levels that has put the fear of law into most traffic rule breakers in India. Truckers are also being charged fined amounting to tens of thousands for various traffic offences and last week, one of India’s biggest traffic fine of Rs. 86,500 was paid by a trucker in Odisha for overloading and breaking other traffic rules. Now, the state of Uttar Pradesh is planning to enforce what seems to be a unique traffic offence, of that of wearing a lungi (wraparound cloth for the lower body) and banian (vest) while driving a truck. This is the attire that a lot of truck drivers from South India favour for the sheer comfort it offers in the often hot and uncomfortable cabins of Indian trucks, which very rarely have air conditioning. Truck drivers caught driving with a Lungi/Banian will be fined Rs. 2,000 by Uttar Pradesh police.
And it’s not just truck drivers who’ll be slapped with the new fine, but also the ‘cleaners’/assistants who travel with the truck driver for navigation and other duties. Going forward, both the truck drivers and their assistants need to wear shirts/t-shirts, full length pants and safety shoes while driving their trucks, if they want to avoid getting fined a hefty Rs. 2,000 while passing through Uttar Pradesh. Notably, a dress code while driving commercial vehicles was prescribed in the Motor Vehicle Act from 1939, and the 1989 amendment added a fine of Rs. 500 for violating the dress code. The fine has now been raised to Rs. 2,000 through the amended Motor Vehicle Act. However, most law enforcement officials have not been implementing the dress code as truck drivers and their assistants difficult driving conditions and need a degree of comfort. With Uttar Pradesh all set to enforce the dress code strictly, all this could change.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Poornendu Singh of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, had this to tell TOI about the new fine for wearing lungi and banian,
The dress code was part of the MV Act since 1939 and when the act was amended in 1989, a penalty of Rs 500 was introduced for violation of the same. Now, a fine of Rs 2,000 will be imposed for dress code violation of the same.
Additional transport commissioner of UP Gangaphal said,
the central MV Act gave states the power to formulate certain traffic safety rules and pull up those who ignored these rules. Under the law, driving trucks, tractors and other such heavy and light commercial vehicles wearing lungi and vest is not permitted. One must wear full pants, proper shirt and closed shoes. The rule applies to helpers or conductors too.