New system to catch fake vehicle sticker fraudsters
Owners of motor vehicles operating with fake vehicle inspection certificates have been put on notice as the government rolls out a digital system to detect stickers obtained fraudulently.
Also affected in the new changes will be drivers operating with fraudulently obtained driving licence expiry date stamps.
These are some of the measures introduced by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in a bid to improve safety on the roads.
Specifically targeted are public service vehicles, heavy commercial vehicles and their drivers. The authority says these are the worst culprits and contribute to a large percentage of accidents.
Under the new system, traffic police officers on patrol or officials from NTSA will only be required to send a text message with the registration number of a vehicle they suspect has a fake inspection sticker to a number provided by the authority.
A response message will show whether or not the sticker is genuine. The same will apply to driving licences and vehicles they suspect have been involved in accidents.
These changes are part of regulations the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure mooted last September in an effort to reduce deaths through road accidents.
At the time, the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Michael Kamau, said the government was creating an integrated transport management system.
Part of the plan was to digitise all the data as regards the transport industry and enable sharing of this data between government organs and Insurance firms.
“Previously we have been relying on a physical inspection to verify whether your sticker is fraudulent but as you know even if you put a thousand security features on them, some crooked people will still find a way of cheating the system,” NTSA Director Francis Meja told Nairobi News.
Under the current system, police rely on the security features of the sticker to ascertain whether it is genuine or not.
The new system is thus likely rein in on brokers from the Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit and backstreet cartels that have been minting millions by assisting vehicle owners avoid taking their vehicles for the mandatory annual inspection required by law.
Under the new regulations in an effort to reduce the chances of being defrauded both vehicle owners and drivers have been empowered to know whether their documents are genuine or not.
To know whether a Motor Vehicle Inspection certificate is genuine, owners will be required to send their number plates with the prefix MVI to 22846.
The authority is currently on the final stages of updating information and will soon extend the service to include licenses as well.
“A lot of people when caught say they did not know whether their documents are false,” said Meja. “We have now empowered them to ascertain this failure to which there will be very heavy punitive fines.
Offenders will be fined Sh100 000 in addition to standing the risk of having the vehicle impounded.
The new regulations do not affect vehicle owners and have roped in Public Service Vehicle Saccos as well by giving them the responsibility of ensuring all their vehicles operate with genuine documents.