Strategically placed Mirrors removed, auto owners warned after complaints from women pile up.

Sixty-four autorickshaw drivers in Thane were made to remove the rear-view mirror from their vehicles after the regional transport office (RTO) received complaints from women commuters about drivers staring at them through such mirrors.

The Thane RTO launched a drive against autorickshaws with oversized rear-view mirrors – according to the law, a rear-view mirror should not exceed three inches in width and 12 inches in length – three days ago. By Monday evening, 64 autos were seized, the rear-view mirrors removed, and handed back to the drivers.

Taking cue from the drive, the RTO officials in Mumbai said a similar drive will soon be launched in the city. Meanwhile, the Thane RTO officials said scores of women approached the RTO complaining about drivers making them uncomfortable by staring at them through rear-view mirrors.

“We received around dozen complaints saying auto drivers would keep staring at the commuters and try to make small talk with them. A few complainants said they had started covering their faces to avoid being stared at,” a RTO official said.

The RTO officials said that unlike other vehicles, autorickshaws don’t need rearview mirrors. “All autos have large side-view mirrors on either side. The autos have no use of a rear-view mirror because these vehicles are enclosed,” a RTO official said.

The Thane RTO team that launched a crackdown on autos with rear-view mirrors was led by the deputy regional transport officer, Shyam Lohi. One of the officers who was a part of the drive said that the auto drivers have been warned of being booked under criminal offences such as outraging women’s modesty. “The auto drivers have been told that our teams will be on the roads and at auto stands to take on-the-spot action. If the same vehicle is again found with over-sized rearview mirrors, the drivers and the vehicle owners are in for big trouble,” the official said.

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Assistant regional transport officer, Mumbai RTO, TP Chavhan, said he has directed the 14 special squads working in Mumbai to inspect autos for such violations.



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