The number of fatalities in two-wheeler accidents fell by 22 per cent this year till November 15. While the number of people killed in two wheeler accidents in 2011 was 614, this year the number went down to 476.
According to traffic police, strict law enforcement and their drive to encourage people to wear helmets has led to the decrease. Police prosecuted 3,02,182 two-wheeler drivers and 53,541 pillion riders this year, against 2,94,978 drivers and 46,251 pillion riders in 2011.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg said, “The argument that the fatality count reduces if the driver and pillion rider wear helmets stands true if you look at these figures. The decrease in number of people killed in two-wheeler accidents after strict law enforcement clearly indicates that wearing helmets can avert tragic deaths that we often hear of.”
Speaking on road safety, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reiterated the need to make people aware and to strictly enforce the law to ensure that all those travelling on two-wheelers wear helmets. “When it comes to accidents, injuries to the head and neck are the main causes of deaths, severe injury and disability those travelling on two-wheelers. In some countries, head injuries are estimated to account for up to 88 per cent of such fatalities,” a WHO official said.
The WHO also stressed that only 40 per cent countries have a comprehensive helmet law that requires helmets to meet a specific standard. In many countries including India, laws penalise offenders for not wearing helmets but governments of several states not made it mandatory for women to wear helmets. The WHO official said helmets should be made mandatory, irrespective of gender.
“The skull of a woman is as vulnerable as that of a man. Helmets should be mandatory.”
Earlier, the Delhi High Court had taken note of the issue. It had disposed of a PIL after recording the government’s willingness to change laws which provided exemption to women riders. The government later said it needed to look into reasons behind such exemptions before finalising any amendments.