By Spy Uganda Correspondent
The government of Kenya will be phasing out the current vehicle number plates in favour of a new set of digital number plates.
The newly announced digital number plates comply with the amended Traffic Act of 2016 and feature visible and invisible security features to ease the tracing of crime perpetrators.
According to the government of Kenya, the new plates shall be fixed to vehicles imported to the country at the point of entry and will be synchronised with Kenya Revenue Authority systems to help in handling cases of tax evasion in the car-selling business.
The latest records in Kenya indicate that the number of vehicles has risen from 3.2 million last year to 4.8 million this year. The new number plates will help ease tracking and monitoring by law enforcement agencies.
Kenyans will be called upon by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to replace their current plates with new ones. The exercise will take 18 months, and there will be a requirement of KES 3,000 for the new plates.
Meanwhile, the government has imposed a fine of Sh20,000 or a jail term of six months for motorists if they fail to apply for a new digital number plate in the next 18 months.
These new generation license plates will have a far more attractive font type that remains visible while looking a lot more modern.
Additionally, they’ll include a QR code, hologram, an NTSA-issued serial number with the front one being different from the back plate, and the Kenyan flag.
The plates which will cost Sh3,000, have inbuilt features that are identifiable by law enforcement agencies and are meant to assist in making car tracking easier.
The new number plates, which will be installed on cars, motorcycles, and trailers, are aimed at stopping the double registration of vehicles and taming unscrupulous car importers as the country moves to restore sanity in the motor industry.
The rollout will begin with newly registered vehicles from the KDK series while replacement of the current plates is set to start on October 1, 2022.
“Any person who contravenes any of the provisions in the traffic rules, which no specific penalty is provided, is liable for a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or imprisonment for six months or both,” states the Traffic Act.
Kenyans are required to switch to the new digital plates within 18 months as directed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
“Ideally, we could have taken 12 months to complete this process as we can change number plates in a year but Kenyans do not want to be harassed so maybe we can do so in the next 18 months,” he said.
“Commissioning of the new generation number plates marks a historic moment in securitising vehicle registration by eliminating loopholes exploited by financial fraudsters and unscrupulous motor vehicle importers,” he added.
The new number plates will cover 12 categories of vehicles in line with the legal notice 62 of 2016 and will feature a Chassis number, a hologram security feature that has in prints of the big 5 and the NTSA logo.
According to Matiang’i, the work is being done by a multi-agency unit of the security sector and is part of the reforms initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta after the 2019 Dusit attack.