Lax enforcement of helmet rule in PCMC areas

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 12 May 2019

Section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 mandates compulsory use of helmets for two-wheeler riders and pillion riders. 

Pune: A query under the Right To Information (RTI) Act by NGO Parisar revealed that a mere 4,130 helmetless riders were fined from October 2018 to March 2019 by the Pimpri Chinchwad police. 

In contrast, the Pune police fined 4,89,149 riders from January 1 to March 15, 2019. This RTI query was filed by Sandeep Gaikwad, Advocacy Coordinator of Parisar on April 10. The helmet enforcement rule was implemented in Pune from January 1, 2019.

Section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 mandates compulsory use of helmets for two-wheeler riders and pillion riders. 

The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety (CoRS) has instructed state governments to set a target of reducing fatalities and injuries by 10 per cent in a year and strictly comply with the helmet rule under the Motor Vehicles Act. 

While hearing a PIL filed in 2003, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra Government to strictly implement Section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 in the entire State from July 1, 2005.

In a survey by Parisar NGO  in February 2019, in Pimpri Chinchwad single rider helmet compliance was at 49 per cent and in cases where the rider was carrying a passenger, it was only 30 per cent. 

It was shocking that pillion rider compliance was at an abysmal 2.12 per cent.

Sandeep Gaikwad, Advocacy Coordinator, Parisar said,  “Helmet enforcement is relatively simpler and requires less manpower as it is visually easy to spot the offenders. However, it requires a strong conviction and will that Pimpri Chinchwad police seem to be lacking at the moment.” Gaikwad said Pimpri Chinchwad police can take cue from Pune police on how it has carried out its enforcement drive by involving educational institutions, government institutes and IT companies. Social media can also play a pivotal role in changing people’s perception. 

“We are enforcing it as part of overall traffic initiative. In whatever offence the motorcyclist is caught, helmet section is invariably applied if there is no helmet. And the overall focus is on all-round traffic discipline,” said RK Padmanabhan, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissioner.

“We are taking action on helmetless driving along with all other violations. In fact, April saw 55 per cent reduction in fatal accidents month on month basis,” said Pune Police Commissioner K Venkatesham.

According to the records of the Traffic Branch of Pune city police, road fatalities in Pune have reduced in April this year, as compared to the same month last year. Last year,20 fatalities were reported in April. This year, there were nine fatalities.

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