Employees at the three petrol bunks that fall under the jurisdiction of the Kannapuram police station in Kannur district of Kerala, refuse petrol to all two-wheeler riders who come in without wearing a helmet. This initiative is a part of the very effective Navjeevan project that is currently under way on a pilot basis in Kannur.
And unlike a few other places in the state, for example the Malappuram district where the rule did not lead to a very strong impact, it is being treated quite well in Kannur and has seen positive results so far.
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
“I am very happy to say that about 75% riders of two-wheelers in this area are wearing their helmets since we implemented the rule. We are also distributing awareness brochures to riders to remind them about the importance of helmets, and have told the petrol bunk owners to refuse petrol to all those who don’t have a helmet. They are also talking to the riders about the importance of helmets,” says Kannapuram police station’s Sub Inspector Binu Mohan, who kick-started this project.
According to reports, about 34% rider deaths in India in 2013 were due to lack of helmets. Additionally, about 40% road deaths and 70% of injuries during road accidents can be reduced if the rule to wear helmets is strictly implemented in every country.
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Binu Mohan adds that about 28 two wheeler accidents took place in Kannapuram police station area in the last four months and two deaths have been reported due to the absence of helmets.
Seeing such statistics, the superintendent of police (SP) in the area suggested that they should implement something more powerful than just the fine on being caught without a helmet. And Sub Inspector Binu came up with this idea, inspired by its implementation in other parts of the country.
“I thought that we should give it a try and people are really supporting the pilot project here. I got several calls from people thanking me for starting something like this. The petrol bunk owners and employees are also cooperating and that has contributed to the success so far,” says the sub-inspector.
The police have also spoken to other petrol stations in the area and they plan to expand the rule to the entire district very soon. Cops from the Kannapuram police station are also keeping a very close eye on the petrol stations that are a part of the project currently.
“People know that this rule is for their safety only, but they still prefer to ride without helmets. Some ride with the helmet perched on the mirror, others hang it behind the bike – but they have to be enforced to do something meant of their own safety. If people understand this, a huge numbers of deaths and injuries due to road accidents can be curbed,” says the 29-year-old sub inspector who himself keeps a close eye on the project.