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Why wearing helmet is compulsory?
Part- 1: Riding motor vehicle without wearing helmet is the commonest traffic rule violation on the roads. According to some reports the average road accidents per day in India are around 1600 and 550 people are dying on each day because of these road accidents.

Two wheelers account 25% of total road accidents that occur in India. The bike riders are losing their lives in the accidents mostly because of injuries on the head. The mortalities caused due to avoiding helmets is said to be only 10% of all road accident deaths.

The usage of helmet by two-wheeler riders is compulsory under Motor Vehicles act. The section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 makes it must for a person driving a two wheeler to wear helmet. If this act is not enforced strictly by the police department, 99% of the bike riders would not wear helmets.

They feel it is inconvenient to wear helmets while riding two-wheelers even though they are fully aware that riding without helmet is a dangerous one. Strangely, even at the cost of risking their lives most of the two-wheeler riders prefer to ride vehicles without wearing helmets.

70% of road accidents are happening due to drunken driving, violation of traffic rules and bad maintenance of roads by the government.

Part- 2

1. Approximately 10,00,000 people die every year in India due to smoking according to latest figures. Yet, the government allows the manufacturing and sale of tobacco products with only just text warnings on the packs. The government earns thousands of crores through taxes on tobacco products. Deaths caused due to cigarette smoking are 100 times more than the deaths caused to two-wheeler drivers who are involved in road accidents without wearing helmets. The pertinent point here is the government leaves the smoking of killer cigarettes at the discretion of the user and not bans cigarettes.

2. Approximately 4,62,000 people die prematurely in India due to heavy alcohol consumption and alcohol induced diseases. According to WHO 4% of all deaths are related to alcohol and it is ranked at 3 of 16 health concerns. Yet, the government allows manufacture of alcohol and its sales with just text warnings on bottles and earning thousands of crores through taxes on alcohol. The government is leaving the alcohol consumption at the discretion of the user. Premature deaths caused due to alcohol addiction are 50 times more than the deaths caused to two-wheeler drivers who are involved in road accidents without wearing helmets.

Based on these facts I would like to pose some questions to the government:

1. Why the government is not leaving the usage of the helmet to the two-wheeler drivers' discretion with the text warning on the vehicles as in the case of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption?

2. Is the value of lives lost due to cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption not the same as value of the lives lost in road accidents due to not wearing helmets?

3. Pillion riders are also at the same risk on par with two-wheeler riders. Is it prudent to make it compulsory for pillion riders also to wear helmet.

4. Pedestrians also lose lives because of head injuries when they are hit by vehicles in road accidents. Is it prudent to make it compulsory for all pedestrians to wear helmets when they walk on the roads?

5. Why the helmet wearing act is not used appropriately and judiciously? It can be enforced only on the two-wheeler riders who cross the speed limit beyond 40 KMs per hour. It can be applied only when they are caught driving drunken.

6. Why the government is not improving the road conditions and removing encroachments on roads. 50% of road accidents are caused due to pathetic condition and bad maintenance of roads.

What the government should do to reduce road accident deaths:

1. Awareness programs for safe driving should be conducted from time to time at regular intervals

2. 70% accidents are caused due to drunken driving, rash driving and not adhering to traffic rules. The government should take strong measures and impose penalties for rash driving and high speed driving.

3. The government should not give licenses to liquor shops, bars and restaurants on both sides of all highways and state ways up to 500 meters distance. Banning of liquor sales in highways will reduce accidents up to 50%.

4. Every act should be in the best interest of people but not for fleecing them in the guise of enforcing it.

5. The government should give top priority to improve the road conditions with good maintenance of road network and remove the encroachments on roads to reduce road accidents considerably.

(Disclaimer - Having said that I am not against the act which makes it must for two-wheelers to wear helmets. In fact I advice two-wheeler drivers to wear helmets for safe journey)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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