State and transport departments across the country collated data that said for every 100 accidents, nearly 30 people died every day in 2016 because they were not wearing helmets.
States reported that one of every five bike occupants, who died in accidents, was not wearing a helmet, bringing the total number up to 10,135. Experts said the number of deaths due to not wearing helmets could be more as the available data might not have captured the details in entirety.
Uttar Pradesh accounted for nearly a third of those deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
A helmet increases a biker’s chances of survival when he/she is in an accident. This isn’t a revelation, but a simple and age-old truth. Sadly, however, it’s one that many choose to ignore at the cost of their lives.
Such callousness has prompted states to implement measures that go beyond monetary fines – a tactic that just does not seem to be effective.
Earlier this month, the Chennai police realised merely fining motorists did not get bikers to wear helmets. So, they proceeded to shame them instead. Not wearing your helmet in Chennai won’t cost you a fine, but your dignity. The law-breaker will have to wear a T-shirt with a message on the front that says “Where is the helmet?” and “Wear [image of a full-face, crash helmet]” on the back. Once they swap the shirt on their back for this T-shirt, the biker will have to ride around a specified locality with a group of fellow offenders to promote the safety of headgear.
Joining the movement with a different pressure tactic is Andhra Pradesh. On Thursday, the ‘No helmet, no petrol’ rule for two-wheeler riders to reduce road accidents came into force with chief minister Chandrababu Naidu urging all the petrol bunk dealers to cooperate, the Times of India reported.
“People should change their mindset and know the fact that they are wearing the helmet for saving their precious lives and not for the sake of the government or police,” Naidu said while discussing the rule with officials, reported ToI.
The CM also said that he would not hesitate to take action against the officials if they failed to discharge their duties properly regarding the rule.
The Chief Minister (CM) has sanctioned Rs 10 crore for equipment to implement this rule, which will remove road encroachments and rectify block spots on roads. The CM has also ordered officials to conduct routine checks on motorists for effective implementation of the rule.
According to the data, the total number of road deaths was nearly 1.51 lakh in 2016 as compared to 1.46 lakh in 2015. About 68% of the total number of people killed were in the age group of 18-45 years. Last year, transport minister Nitin Gadkari termed the situation as “an emergency”.