The Madras high court this week gave a rap on the knuckles of authorities for not implementing compulsory helmet rule for both the biker and the pillion rider. Despite Madras HC's repeated directives on helmet rule for the last few years, two-wheeler riders continue endangering lives.
The HC bench, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by an activist, directed authorities to seize the vehicles of riders who do not wear helmets. The government on its part reeled out statistics on action taken against violators and how the fatality rate has come down this year. It also said nearly 2 lakh licenses have been suspended. The authorities have been impounding the vehicles and surrendering them before courts as per first bench order. Those bikes are returned only on production of new helmet with bill, it added.
In a bid to implement the helmet rule without any hindrance, the high court directed the government to issue orders empowering all police officers not below the rank of SI for booking offences under the Motor Vehicle Act and collecting spot fines.
While spot fine may help in generating revenue for the government, the safety of the public matters most. Parliament must give the green signal to amendments made to Motor Vehicle Rules without further delay so that offenders don't go scot free by just paying a fine of Rs 100 for violation of helmet rule. The authorities must also be given adequate powers to permanently suspend the driving licences of repeat offenders.
It is time people made use of the mobile application to be launched by the Chennai police soon to shoot and share photos of those violating traffic rules like jumping signals, failing to wear helmets and crossing the stop lines with cops.
Such awareness drives can help change the attitude of people towards road and personal safety. Head injuries have been cause of most of the fatal cases involving two-wheelers. When wearing helmets can save lives, why not the biker and the pillion rider wear them?...