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Karnataka govt mandates location tracking, panic button for public service vehicles

Bengaluru: In a significant move aimed at enhancing the safety and security of passengers, especially women and children, the state government of Karnataka has issued an order mandating the installation of Vehicle Location Tracking (VLT) devices and emergency panic buttons in all public service vehicles, including taxis and cabs.

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The order, which is set to take effect on December 1, provides a one-year grace period until November 30, 2024, for the comprehensive implementation of these safety measures.

The decision to mandatorily install emergency panic buttons and VLT devices was to create and ensure a secure environment for commuters.

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The Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have expedited the process by exclusively notifying Fitness Certificate (FC) renewal for vehicles covered under this scheme, emphasizing the urgency of ensuring safety in public transportation.

There are 4.51 lakh private vehicles including cabs, maxi cabs and taxis. There are 16,432 school buses. KSRTC has 24,701 buses. There are 1,900 tourist vehicles. There are 71,248 buses in total and 85,941 commercial (goods) vehicles operating in the state.

Under the initiative, a collaborative effort between the central and state governments has resulted in a 60:40 partnership to facilitate the installation of VLT devices in public service vehicles.

A budget of Rs 2035.90 lakh has been earmarked for the implementation of this ambitious scheme. Vehicle owners are directed to procure and install panic buttons from qualified companies, with the cost of installation amounting to Rs 7,599.

Commencing from December 1, vehicle owners are required to initiate the installation of the VLT devices with panic buttons, completing the process within the stipulated one-year timeframe, i.e., by November 30, 2024.

Failure to comply with this directive will lead to disciplinary action by the Transport Department, with a crucial note in the order stating that Fitness Certificates will not be renewed for vehicles lacking the mandatory safety features.

This sweeping order applies across various categories of public service vehicles, encompassing yellow board taxis, cabs, private buses, and goods vehicles with a National Permit. Vehicle owners are obligated to ensure the installation of both panic buttons and VLT devices within the specified timeframe. For other vehicle categories, the cost of installing the panic button, along with the VLT, is set at Rs 7,599, exclusive of GST.

Once the VLT and Panic Button are installed, real-time location tracking of vehicles will commence, providing monitoring capabilities on a digital map. The system will issue alerts for restricted areas, traffic violations, and instances of speeding. Importantly, in case of emergencies such as health disturbances or sexual assaults, pressing the panic button will trigger an alert message sent to the command centre.

The command centre, equipped with the location of the vehicle, will promptly inform local law enforcement, thereby aiming to prevent any potential disasters or criminal activities. This innovative measure marks a pivotal step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers utilizing public transportation services across the state of Karnataka.   

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