Thiruvananthapuram | Not just ordinary citizens, even VIPs like MPs and MLAs have not been spared by the artificial intelligence (AI) cameras installed to monitor traffic violations on the state's roads under the Safe Kerala project, the LDF government said on Thursday.
The government also said that the AI cameras have been instrumental in bringing down the number of road accidents and the resultant fatalities in the state.
Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju on Thursday said there was a widespread misconception among the public that VIP vehicles were exempted from paying penalties for traffic violations. He said the AI cameras were booking all vehicles, irrespective of their state of registration or to whom they belong, and they all have been fined for traffic violations.
The minister said that in July this year, 19 violations by vehicles of MLAs and 10 violations by vehicles of MPs were recorded by AI cameras, and penalties issued.
He said one MP's vehicle was caught violating traffic rules on six occasions and a four-wheeler of an MLA was caught for violations seven times.
Raju, however, did not disclose the details of the legislators whose vehicles were found violating traffic rules.
"The challans have been issued in most cases and the challans will be issued for the remaining as well," Raju said.
The minister was speaking to reporters after a monthly review of the operation of the AI cameras.
Raju said that besides booking VIPs for traffic violations, the AI cameras also contributed to bringing down the number of accidents and the related fatalities on the state roads.
He said that the traffic violations have also gone down tremendously. In a
move that may face some pushback, the government is considering holding talks with insurance companies to prevent motorists from renewing their vehicle insurance if they have unpaid traffic challans.
According to the data provided by the minister, the number of road fatalities in July this year were 67, a steep drop from the 313 recorded last year during the same month.
"This count will change as many are critically injured and are still in hospitals. This is the present count from the State Crime Records Bureau," he said.
He also said that the total number of people injured in accidents was also lower as compared to last year during the same period.
He further said that from September 1 onwards, wearing of seat belts would be made compulsory for heavy vehicle drivers and their front co-passengers. He said the AI cameras will start penalising vehicles from September 1 onwards for not complying with this norm.
"All heavy vehicles registered after 1994 will have to comply with the seat belt rule. This is applicable to all vehicles plying on Kerala roads," the minister said.