Helmetless Driving Kills 43,600 Riders In 2018, States Refuse To Impose Hefty Fines
In 2018, about 43,600 two-wheeler riders without helmets died in road accidents. This was a 21% increase from 2017 (35,975), The Times of India reported.
Uttar Pradesh recorded the maximum number of helmetless two-wheeler casualties in 2018 with the number as high as 6,020, followed by Maharastra with 5,232 such cases.
Recently, with the implementation of the new motor vehicle amendment bill, Gujarat and Jharkhand announced exemption to pillion riders from following the rule of wearing any safety gear.
Gujarat reported 958 two-wheeler drivers without helmets on roads in 2018, of which 560 lost their lives in accidents, due to lack of safety gear. Jharkhand reported 790 such cases of which 450 died.
Putting more lives at risk, last week, both Gujarat and Jharkhand introduced changes in the new traffic fine structure for those caught riding without helmets.
Under the fresh changes in the motor vehicle amendment act in Gujarat, the penalty for not wearing a helmet is changed to Rs 500, which is Rs 1000. For not wearing seat belts Rs 500 will be charged, as against Rs 1000
This comes after alarming figures provided by states where helmets played a crucial role in saving lives of many commuters and killing helmetless drivers and pillion riders.
The state of Tamil Nadu also reported 5048 deaths of two-wheeler riders driving without helmets in 2018.
The amended Motor Vehicles Act makes it compulsory for all two-wheeler riders to wear helmets except Sikhs. Though there is a provision to make helmets compulsory for all above 4 years of age, the government has not updated the provision citing lack of helmets as compared to the number of commuters.
About 24,400 drivers and car occupants have lost their lives in 2018 as compared to 28,900 in 2017. Under the new amended act, all vehicle occupants will attract fines upto Rs 1000 for not wearing a seat belt while driving.
As the new penalties become difficult to escape, an auto driver on September 14, in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur had to pay a fine of Rs 1000 for not wearing a seat belt while riding.
Traffic offenders in states across the country are consistently being penalised with hefty fines since the new Motor Vehicles Act enhanced the penalties for all traffic violations.