For Effective Helmet Rule, NGO Parisar Urges Transport Ministry To Issue Notification To Bring Section 44 of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 Into Force

Helmet DY Patil

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Pune, December 24, 2020: Parisar, a non-profit organization working on road safety, urges the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to issue a notification to bring the amended section 129 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act into force immediately.

The amended “helmet law” requires the Central Government to specify standards for the helmet separately. Earlier the standard for the helmet was included in the act itself, having been specified as “conforming to the standards of Bureau of Indian Standards”. Significantly the amended law removes the power of States to provide any exemptions to the wearing of helmets. In the past, many States have provided exemptions, and this continues to be an impediment to the enforcement of the helmet law, despite various Court directives, including those issued by the Supreme Court.

In a letter to the Ministry, Parisar has expressed disappointment that despite several amended sections having been brought into force, an important section which can save lives of vulnerable road users has still not been notified more than a year after the Amendment Act received the assent of the President on August 9, 2019.

Two-wheelers are a convenient alternative to the inadequate public transport that exists in India. However, 6 two-wheeler riders die every hour in road crashes. Significantly 37% of those killed in road crashes in 2019 were two-wheeler riders. As per the World Health Organization, helmet use can reduce the risk of fatality by 40% and head injuries by 70%.

The recent report on road accidents in India published by MoRTH said that there has been an increase in two-wheeler fatalities in 2019. Among 56,136 riders involved in a fatal crash, 44,666 were found not to be wearing a helmet.

Recently the Ministry had issued a notification, stating that from 1st June 2021, all two-wheeler helmets manufactured and sold in India will need to be BIS-Certified Helmets (with ISI Mark). “While this ensures that no non-ISI helmets will be manufactured in the country after June next year, thus addressing the issue of spurious helmets being sold in the market, it does not address the fact that those who ride a motorcycle right now must wear a BIS-compliant helmet only”, said Sandeep Gaikwad, Senior Program Associate at Parisar.

“Two-wheeler fatalities are increasing every year. There is no safeguard for two-wheeler riders except a helmet. Most of the fatalities occur due to grievous head injury. The Ministry must issue a notification to bring section 44 of amendment act into force – to save vulnerable road users and help achieve the target of reducing road crash-related deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030” he added.