Auto drivers without khaki uniforms face hefty fines

Bangalore Crime TRAFFIC Transport

Auto drivers in the city offer rides without wearing khaki uniforms, union says drivers are unaware of the rules.

Many auto drivers in the city do not wear khaki uniforms while on duty, which is a violation of the traffic rules. . As per the information from the Traffic Control Room, Basavangudi, the rule was implemented to make sure that auto drivers are easily identifiable and to help traffic police recognize them and implement traffic rules on the road.

According to the information from the Traffic Management Centre, 2,947 auto drivers were fined for not wearing the uniform in 2023. In January and February this year, 451 and 754 drivers were fined respectively for not wearing the khaki uniform. The fine ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000. Sadashivaiah N., an auto driver said that he doesn’t wear the uniform because police are not nabbing them as much these days. He added that earlier the traffic police used to be stricter in implementing the rule of uniform but now they don’t generally stop drivers for not wearing the uniform and if they do, they take Rs. 500 and let them go. He said, “I wear the khaki jacket over my shirt whenever I see a lot of traffic police on the road and then remove it after some time.”

Chandra Shekar J., another auto driver said that he was not aware of any such law regarding wearing the uniform while on duty. He said that he had never been fined for it.

Gayathri, a resident of Koramangala said that she booked an auto from Rapido, but the person who came to pick her up was different from the person who was mentioned on the app. She said that she realised it after starting her ride, and later registered a complaint on the app. She said, “I was very worried till I reached my destination because the driver was driving rashly, and he was not wearing the uniform.”

C. Sampat, General Secretary of Adarsha Auto Union Bangalore said that auto drivers have to follow various disciplinary rules like keeping the auto clean, having side railings in the auto for the safety of the passenger, having a yellow number plate, and wearing a uniform. He said, “Auto drivers are not aware of these rules because the government and Regional Transport Office (RTO) are not educating them. After the learner’s license exam, the RTO department should conduct classes to educate auto drivers about basic disciplinary rules.” They are unaware of the rules and get fined heavily due to it, he added.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) traffic, North Division, Sri Gowri said that drivers can’t be identified without their uniform. She said, “There have been incidents where the relatives of the registered auto drivers use the vehicle, they drive rashly and don’t get caught. It is easier to identify people wearing uniforms as the khaki uniform is easily visible even in the dark and it’s easy to take disciplinary actions.”

According to the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules(1989), every driver of a transport vehicle has to wear a khaki bush coat and khaki trousers while on duty.  Bangalore District Police considers not wearing the uniform while on duty as a punishable offence.

M.N. Sreehari, a transport expert said that every vehicle with a yellow number plate is meant for public service and for the safety of the public, auto drivers must wear khaki uniforms. It is also a part of the rules and regulations of the RTO and all in the profession must adhere to it, he added.