Know The Key Differences Between RTO and DTO

RTO and DTO: An Overview Buying your first vehicle is an unmatched experience, whether you are buying it for personal or business purposes. But is buying the vehicle make you eligible to drive it on…

RTO and DTO: An Overview

Buying your first vehicle is an unmatched experience, whether you are buying it for personal or business purposes. But is buying the vehicle make you eligible to drive it on the road? No. After purchasing a vehicle, you need legal permission and a unique identity to ply it on the road within or outside the state. How do you do that? Well, the RTOs are government-owned bodies established to facilitate all the transport-related processes for vehicle owners and ensure the people's security and safe transportation on roads. 

The Regional Transport Office or RTO is an organization under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 of the Government of India, which holds the operational aspect of the transportation department. The key responsibility of an RTO is keeping track of the number of vehicles and drivers throughout the country. Whether it be issuing a valid driving license, vehicle registration, collecting taxes, or issuing NOC, you are required to visit the nearest RTO in your city. But are RTOs available in a small town or district? The question can trouble anyone. DTOs are formed at a district level to solve your vehicle-related concerns. The terms RTO and DTO can be confusing at times. In this article, we will discuss the difference between DTO and RTO. Before that, let’s understand the basic functions of both RTOs and DTOs. Let’s begin!

What is RTO?

The full form of RTO is Regional Transport Office, also known as the Regional Transport Authority (RTA). After the formation of the Motor Vehicle Department under the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, it was necessary to form regulatory bodies to control and oversee the transport-related activities in each state of India. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, the Motor Vehicles Department is headed by a Transport Commissioner. The RTO officials have the authority to identify any untaxed vehicles entering any of the states of India to curb vehicle crimes. The RTO office introduced high-security registration plates to help improve road security. These plates also help prevent thieves and criminals from using written-off or scrapped vehicles. 

Functions of RTO

The Regional Transport Office or RTO is bestowed with authority to enforce the different Motor Vehicles provisions and central and state motor vehicle rules that the Government of India has prescribed. The RTO office also performs other major functions for developing road transportation systems. Here’s an overview of the major functions of the RTO offices in India

Issuance of Driving License

The RTO involves performing valid tests and issuing different driving licenses after critically evaluating the applicant’s driving ability and understanding of traffic rules. The authority issues licenses for learners, permanent licenses for 18 years and above, commercial drivers, and international driving applicants. Apart from the issuance, the RTO deals with license renewal, issuance of duplicate licenses, suspension of the license in violation of rules, etc.

Vehicle Registration

Maintaining the vehicle database is one of the primary duties of the RTO. All new vehicles are registered with the concerned RTO office and receive a license plate. RTO also takes concerns like issuing a No Objection Certificate during the sale of the vehicle and issues of duplicate or renewed registration certificates after conducting an inspection.  

Collection of Tax & Charges

The government levies certain taxes and duty charges when a vehicle owner drives the vehicle or get benefitted from certain transportation services. The RTO also collects the road tax and other taxes as applicable, which are used for the further development of the transport department. Note that the transport department is one of the major sources of revenue generation in the state. 

Vehicle Inspection

The vehicle plying on roads should follow the traffic rules and regulations mentioned in the Motor Vehicle Act. The RTOs conduct inspections before granting any certificate like a renewal of registration, NOC, or transfer of ownership. Also, the officials inspect the mechanical fit of the vehicle before registering the fitness certificate. 

Ensuring Road Safety

Road accidents are one of the major causes of death all over the globe. The RTO implements the required measures and safety regulations to minimise road accidents. The officials ensure that the vehicle owner has all the updated documents. Also, RTO is responsible to update the general public about road safety measures and actions. 

Grant Permit

Every commercial vehicle needs a permit to ply on the road within the state and outside. The RTO offices grant permission to different types of commercial vehicles, including cabs, good/ carriage vehicles, tourist vehicles, permits for auto-rikshaws, and national permits. The permits are only granted after the physical inspection and document verification of the vehicle. 

What is DTO?

The DTO stands for District Transport Office. A DTO is a government-owned body responsible for maintaining the database of vehicles at the district level. The basic functions of the Regional Transport Office and District Transport Office are the same; for example, a DTO conducts the license tests, inspects vehicles, and issues or renews registration certificates. 

Functions of DTO

Since the responsibility of the DTO covers the district-level jurisdiction and hence includes the following functions

  • Conducting driving tests and evaluating the driver’s efficiency in driving on roads
  • Issuance of vehicle registration certificates to the vehicle purchased within the district.
  • Issue renewed, duplicated, and updated RC
  • Collection of motor vehicle tax 
  • Issue permits for vehicles
  • Enforcement of traffic rules and regulations under the Motor Vehicle Act
  • Inspection of motor vehicle mechanical fitness 
  • Conducting the pollution test on the vehicles and issuing PUC certificates
  • Checking the motor vehicle insurance

Difference Between RTO and DTO

Although RTO and DTO perform functions of a similar nature, there are certain key differences between the two of them. Let’s understand the difference in simple words.

The primary difference is the RTO maintains records and databases of all drivers and vehicles in the different states of India. Whereas, the DTO maintains records and databases of all drivers and vehicles of the different districts. The RTO is a state-level transport organization, whereas the DTO is a district-level transport organization. 

Another notable difference between RTO and DTO is that a state can have only one RTO office but several DTO or District Transport Offices. The RTO performs prescribed functions to ensure the safety and security of both the driver and the vehicles when they are on the roads. It also performs several other functions, including registering new vehicles and issuing certificates and licenses for public transport vehicles to ply on the roads of India. Besides these, it also has the power to issue international driving licenses. DTO performs similar duties but on the district level. 

Hence, the major difference between RTO and DTO is that RTO is a state-level transport organization, whereas DTO is a district-level transport organization. The major difference lies in the jurisdiction area. A state has multiple districts and can have multiple DTOs. At the same time, RTO is only one per state. For large states, there might be different RTO offices throughout the state for managing the work and responsibilities efficiently.

Final Words

Reading this article till here, you must have a clear understanding of the difference between the DTO and RTO. We have thoroughly explained the functions of Regional Transport Offices and District Transport Offices. If you need clarification regarding the roles and responsibilities of RTO and DTO and wondering where you should reach to solve your vehicle-related concerns, please reach out to the nearest transport department office.

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