The Madras high court on Tuesday said two helmets should come with every two-wheeler purchase and a new component — helmet lock too should be provided to boost helmet use. A petition has been filed in the Madras High Court challenging a public notice by Tamil Nadu Government that wearing of helmets by two-wheeler riders and pillion riders made compulsory from July 1 and that bike’s registration document would be impounded in case of violation. Justice N Kirubakaran, directed the Centre to issue suitable directives to two-wheeler manufacturers to provide helmet locks in vehicles as a component and not as an accessory.
The Madras high court judge said that the number of deaths “drastically came down” from 582 in June to 498 in July 2015, referring to the data on road accidents since July 1 furnished by the state government. He also said that the deaths increased to 571 in August 2015 and 289 deaths up to September 15, 2015. “This meant that it was only during July that the helmet rule was implemented rigorously,” he said.
This information pertaining to road accidents was obtained only from government hospitals excluding private hospitals, according to the Special public prosecutor Venugopal.
“It is also evident that only in urban and semi-urban areas people have started wearing helmets. The rule is not implemented in rural areas. Hence, the state government is directed to implement the rule rigorously in all areas,” the judge said.
Emphasizing the Motor Vehicle Act which mandated providing helmets to two-wheeler buyers, the judge asked the Centre to ensure that bike manufacturers provided helmets conforming to BIS standards. “If a helmet is provided by the manufacturer, it will prevent the use of sub-standard helmets,” he said.
“If the lock is made necessary, and a component of the vehicle, it will definitely enable more people to use helmets,” said Justice Kirubakaran understanding the practical problem of the Riders in keeping the helmet safe and their apprehension of losing their helmets.
The judge was quoted saying that prevention of road accident deaths is the constitutional duty of governments and courts. In this regard, he also opined that celebrities too could be roped in to popularize the helmet rule. Already actor Kamal Haasan is advocating the cause, the judge said.
The Union ministry of surface transport has already submitted a typed set of papers providing the standard designs and details of helmets. As no affidavit was filed by the ministry in this regard, Justice Kirubakaran directed the Union government to file an affidavit through a proper person. The matter has been postponed to October 30, 2015 for further hearing.