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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Helmet compliance drops by 20% in Pune, says NGO survey

The well-known traffic and transportation advocacy group, Parisar, recently conducted a survey on five days at 10 junctions scattered across the city

pune Updated: Dec 03, 2019 16:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune traffic police not taking action against helmet-less riders on Tilak road.
Pune traffic police not taking action against helmet-less riders on Tilak road.(HT FILE PHOTO)
         

PUNE Helmet compliance by two wheeler riders in Pune has dropped from 66% to 46% after the police discontinued its enforcement drive in June, a survey by an NGO has revealed.

The well-known traffic and transportation advocacy group, Parisar, recently conducted a survey on five days at 10 junctions scattered across the city.

A total of 712 photographs were taken and analysed and 5,498 two-wheelers were captured in the survey, which included 995 two-wheelers with a pillion, Parisar said in a release.

Of these, 3,003 (55%) riders were observed to be wearing a helmet, while only 30 (3%) pillion riders were using a helmet.

In May last year a similar survey showed 28% riders and 1.1% pillions wearing a helmet, while in December 2018, after a six-month awareness drive by the Traffic Police, another survey showed that the compliance rate went up by just a few per cent.

Parisar noted that in January this year, the Police started enforcing the helmet rule and themselves reported that the compliance rate shot up to 66% in just a few weeks. The enforcement drive was supported by the medical community, various professional groups, victims and survivors, and road safety activists.

However, in June, after Pune MLAs complained to the then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, he asked the Police to stop the on-road enforcement of the helmet law. “Since then the compliance rate has dropped by 20%, thus revealing the ineffectiveness of enforcement only by CCTV footage,” Parisar said in its report.

The NGO found that most challans issued by CCTV remained unpaid and the Police had no mechanism to track the challans and ensure fine collection. “Many challans fail to get delivered and sometimes get delivered to the wrong people,” the NGO noted.

“Globally it has been seen that only consistent on-road enforcement works as a deterrent and can ensure high rates of compliance. The Traffic Police were doing a very good job but unfortunately stopped due to political pressure. The results of this survey show that they have to start the campaign again”, said Ranjit Gadgil, programme director at Parisar.

“Helmets reduce the chance of a fatality by 40% and severe injury by 70% in the case of a crash”, said Sandeep Gaikwad, Parisar’s Road Safety Advocacy Coordinator, who conducted the survey. “Hence the Ministry has taken a very serious view on the mandatory use of helmets and increased the fine for not wearing one to Rs 1,000 with a mandatory 3-month licence suspension. The clause that allowed States to give exemptions to the use of helmets has also been removed”.

Parisar noted that as per the latest Road Accident report published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, fatalities in Maharashtra increased to 13,261 in 2018 making the State the second highest in the nationwide tally. Two-wheeler fatalities amounted to 36% of the total fatalities and a majority of those killed were found not to be using helmets.

Junctions where the survey was conducted during 10 am to 11:30 am and 3 pm to 4.30 pm

*Rajaram pool chowk, Sinhgad road

* Swargate chowk

* Nal stop chowk

* Karve statue chowk

* Zila parishad office chowk

* Southern command chowk

* Golf club chowk

* Vimannagar chowk

* Pune University chowk

* Shimla office chowk