Regional Transport Office (RTO) is the government organisation established to supervise all transport operations in India. The department's main objective is to maintain a database of all vehicles in the country and to issue driving licences. Furthermore, RTO has other duties such as collections of taxes, pollution control and enforcement. You may need to visit the RTO if you are a car owner for different things like registration, new licence application, renewal of licences, and more.

RTOs are located all over the country in all districts and currently operate under the rules laid down by the 1988 motor vehicle act. These rules apply across the country and are implemented by the RTOs of the respective districts. A RTO's main task is to improve the safety of vehicles and to reduce crime associated with vehicles. In the event of accidents RTOs play an important role in implementing strict rules.

Things you must know about RTO

The Indian government is responsible for maintaining the database of all the cars and drivers in India. It is executed through RTO or regional transport office. Each district has its RTO, as specified in the 1988 Law on Motor Vehicles, that performs its own functions and activities.

RTO functions

Some of the important functions of RTO are as follows:

  • Imposing multiple rules under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, the CMVR Act or the CMVR Act 1989 and providing the guidelines on the State Motor Vehicles as occasionally specified by the Indian Government.
  • To guarantee the continuous growth and expansion of road transport through the management of different types of permits.
  • To levy and collect the relevant taxes under the Motor Vehicle Act.
  • Issuing public service badges.

RTO activities

  1. RTO also deals with the issuance of individual driving licences. They also carry out a licence renewal, duplicate licence issuance and driving testing, in addition to issuing a licence.
  2. Registration for vehicles: RTO maintains a vehicle database as a primary responsibility. This is done during the vehicle registration function. All new vehicles must be registered at the RTO, after which you receive your vehicle's Number plate.
  3. Edition and renewal of the certificate of registration
  4. Transfer of ownership from one person to another in the event of sale of the vehicle
  5. Change of vehicle registration details when transported to another state
  6. Recording the specification in the registry book if you have taken loan on your vehicle and removing the specification when the loan is completed.
  7. No objection certificate when your vehicle is transferred from one state to another
  8. Road tax collection: the government charges certain taxes on your vehicle, such as the road tax. This is collected by the RTO. This tax is usually taken during the first registration of the vehicle.
  9. Vehicle inspection: The RTO shall check that the road vehicles meet the rules laid down in the Motor Vehicle Law. They carry out inspections on a regular basis.
  10. Environmental concerns: The Motor Vehicles Act also addresses environmental issues. It performs, for example, activities related to the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquid Oil Gas and to PUC testing facilities.
  11. Road safety: The RTO has this important role and continues to make us aware of the safety measures to be taken in various ways on roads.

Other Key Responsibilities of RTO

Some of the other important responsibilities of RTO are discussed below:

Driving Licenses

Our driving licences are issued by RTO only. Other responsibilities under the category of licence are as follows:

  • Testing and Licensing Issues
  • Driving licence renewal
  • International licence issue
  • Issuing learning licence
  • License issue for driving instructors

All the above activities related to licenses are carried out in your local city RTO. Now RTO has started issuing more secure smart card driving license (SCDL) with biometric information and blood group of the driver.

Read more: Types of driving license in India

Vehicle registration information

It's not enough to have a driver's licence alone. It is also important to authenticate the vehicle used. RTO vehicle information gives your vehicle an identity. The following are some of the responsibilities of RTO related to Vehicle Registration:

  • Issue and renewal of the motor vehicle registration certificate
  • Ownership transfer on certificate of registration
  • Loan Entry in R.C. Book
  • Registration certificate (RC) changes recording
  • NoC issue (No Objection Certificate)
  • Certificate issuance
  • Tourist and transportation permits

In case you want to avail any of the services related to vehicle registration mentioned above, you can contact your city RTO for the same.

Government Revenue Collection

Motor vehicle taxes are collected by the RTO, including:

  • Motor vehicle tax
  • IMV fees collection

It is the duty of the vehicle owners to pay for the above taxes.

Vehicle inspection at control points

The RTO also carries out timely inspection of vehicles. The road vehicles must comply with the rules laid down in the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act. The inspection of the vehicles to validate RTO vehicle information is thus, an important part of the responsibility of RTO. In case your vehicle is not found up to date, a challan can be imposed on you by the RTO authority. In today's era, RTO has also started issuing eChallan to vehicle owners for non-compliance of rules.

Upgrade the environment

It is a matter of great concern to keep pollution under control. The two aspects that are are important under the 1988 Motor Vehicles Act are:

  • Use of CNG / LPG
  • Centres for PUC testing

By exercising the control over the above two aspects, the RTO keeps a check on pollution and try to maintain balance in the environment by reducing the pollution. RTO can challan vehicles for pollution.

Measures for road safety

It was found that there are 150,000 deaths annually in India alone based on 400 daily accidents. In order to reduce unjustified risks, road safety measures are therefore exercised. The exercising of these safety measures for road safety is therefore an important responsibility of the RTO of the city.

These were the key functions and responsibilities of RTO. In case you want to complete any of the activities related to RTO, you have to visit your local RTO centre in the city.