The Bengaluru police in an effort to promote the importance of road safety distributed helmets to citizens in a hope to instil the vitality of the protection gears. Dressed as ‘Lord Ganesha’, one of the cops gave away helmets and roses to two-wheeler drivers in an attempt to make them understand the repercussions of not wearing a helmet.
The area which comes under the Rajajinagar Traffic control organized the awareness drive and also posted pictures on their twitter handle.
— RAJAJINAGR TR PS (@RJnagarTr) July 25, 2018
A few days back, Halasuru Gate Traffic Police had also organized a similar drive in which ‘Lord Yama’ (Yamaraj) warned people against the perils of disregarding traffic rules. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Anupam Agarwal who told Press Trust of India (PTI) that the awareness crusade was done to underline the importance of traffic rules and inform people that violating them could lead to the loss of life. The theatre artist Veeresh Muttinamath who had dressed as ‘Yamaraj’ a few days back was awarded Rs 10,000 for his participation in the campaign.
Mumbai Police in a similar bid to spread awareness about road safety posted a video from Tom Cruise’s latest movie Mission Impossible-Fall Out on their twitter handle.
Not an impossible mission for us to penalise you if you are spotted trying these stunts on the roads of Mumbai! That’s the job. No hard feelings. #SafetyIsPossible #WearAHelmet #SayNoToRashDriving pic.twitter.com/BRKx8at7Rl
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) July 30, 2018
India: A hub of accidents
In 2016, The Times of India in a report mentioned that around 28 two-wheeler riders across the country died daily on account of not wearing helmets. Furthermore, data from all the states revealed that all the riders who died in these accidents was not wearing helmets. The number was reported to be 10,135.
The report also mentioned a study by the United Nations which showed wearing a helmet increases the survival rate in case of a fatal accident by 42%. Two years have passed since this data was gathered by the Transport Ministry, and the statistics have only increased.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in a welcome change has amended some rules regarding the manufacturing of helmets. The new guidelines which will be in effect from January 15, 2019, will see the current weight of the helmets, set at 1.5 kg come down to 1.2 kg, a reduction of 300 grams, NDTV informed.
Moreover, the sale of non-ISI marked helmets will be deemed illegal and an offence, meaning low-quality products will no longer be available.
Rajiv Kaur, President of the ISI Helmets Manufacturers Association told the media outlet, “This step will help bring down the number of fatal road accidents and will curb malpractices and the sale of spurious and fake roadside helmets. In India, riders underestimate the role of the helmet and tend to buy cheap headgear, which does not protect them well and this has worsened the situation and given rise to the substandard helmet manufacturers, however, the current move is likely to keep a strict check on the substandard and spurious helmets manufacturing.”
The Quint reported that the central government has amended the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 to increase the penalty for breaking traffic rules among other changes. Some of the changes include a fine of Rs 5,000 for driving without a licence, for an over-speeding penalty of Rs 2,000 and riders not wearing a helmet, a fine of Rs 1,000 and also a suspension of the licence for three months. Also, drunk driving would lead to a fine of Rs 10,000.
To curb the increasing accidents due to the absence of helmets, researchers at the India Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad developed a novel solution using Artificial Intelligence (AI), which would automatically detect motorcyclists riding without helmets using CCTV cameras, The Economic Times reported earlier this year.
Although it is still in the process of finding industrial partners to make it commercially viable, the solution is a major step towards building a positive deterrent. Lastly, it can further be implemented in various other applications like zig-zag driving, avoiding tripling etc.
The Logical Indian Take
There is hardly any doubt about the importance of helmets for safety. However, even as most recognize the danger, many avoid using them, citing various reasons such as hair loss, heat, machismo etc. As much as the police authorities and the government can work towards making us aware of the dangers, it is imperative that we the citizens realize the cost of lives and more important.
Also published on Medium.