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Why you are likely to be pulled over by police, NTSA today

A police officer at a roadblock in Mweiga, Nyeri County on November 30, 2021. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

An influx of motorists driving vehicles bearing red registration plates, which are usually used by diplomats, has prompted police to crack down on fake plate-number holders.

The exercise saw motorists plying Lang’ata Road, Magadi Road, some parts of Thika Superhighway, among other busy routes being pulled over for inspection.

Those targeted were motorists whose vehicles have foreign registration plates or diplomatic number plates.

A few motorists, who have civilian vehicle number plates, also found themselves on the wrong side of the law, when traffic officers discovered that either their insurance covers had expired, or their driver’s licenses were up for renewal.

The exercise was conducted jointly by traffic police and officers of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

Lang’ata Sub-County Police Commander Benjamin Mwathi told The Standard that the exercise will help weed out motorists who are disguising under the red and foreign plate numbers to either avoid paying insurance charges or get preferential treatment on the roads.

In Trans Nzoia County, where a similar crackdown was conducted on Tuesday, January 11, authorities said they were targeting motorists using the border points to sneak in or sneak out stolen vehicles or those whose duty charges haven’t been paid.

“Trans Nzoia County, particularly Kitale Town, is located strategically near the Kenya-Uganda border points. There are many motorists who pass through Trans Nzoia while en route to either Uganda or South Sudan. Some of these motorists have genuine vehicle ownership or registration documents, while others have fake ones. The crackdown was targeting the holders of fake documents,” NTSA coordinator in Trans Nzoia County Cyprian Michieka said.

Police have now urged owners of vehicles with irregular registration or ownership documents to surrender within seven days from today (Wednesday, January 12), or face court action.

NTSA says the issuance of number plates remains one of its key responsibilities, and that those making fake registration plates would be fished out and subjected to the law.

Motorists found with illegal number plates on their vehicles risk a Sh300,000 fine or a maximum of 12 months in jail, or both.

In November 2018, authorities raised the alarm on the influx of fake number plates in the country, saying criminals were using the illegal registrations to disguise.

This comes even as officers of the safety regulator, NTSA, are being spotlighted for allegedly colluding with criminals to dish out fake number plates.

In May 2018, police in Nairobi impounded two vehicles, a Subaru Legacy and a Toyota Harrier, which had similar number plates – KBZ 142D.