Helmets a must from August 1

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Staff Reporter

Karnataka has third highest road accident rate in the country: NIMHANS report

Risk of death 2.5 times more riders who do not use helmets 40 per cent of road traffic injury victims are riders of motorcycles and pillion riders 75 per cent of the injured are in the age group of 15 to 44

BANGALORE: Helmets will be made compulsory for motorcycle riders and those riding pillion will be introduced in the city from August 1, D. Thangaraj, Transport Secretary, said here on Saturday.

There had been some confusion as to whether the Government would implement the helmet rule or whether it was planning to have a rethink as the decision was opposed by several members of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative council, he said.

The High Court ordered the Government to make helmets compulsory in June 2004, but the issue was brought before the legislature only early this year.

Mr. Thangaraj said the State Government had issued a gazette notification to make helmets mandatory sometime ago. "We are going ahead with the rule. Initially, we had not decided on the date. But now, we have fixed it for August 1," he said at a seminar here on "Road Traffic Injury Prevention in India."

Every year, 10 lakh people are killed in road accidents and 1.5 million are hospitalised in India, according to a report released by National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Karnataka had the third highest road accident rate in the country, after Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, it said.

Another report on "Helmets and Traffic Accidents" by NIMHANS showed that 903 people were killed and 7,000 injured in Bangalore in 2004 owing to road traffic injuries. Nearly 75 per cent of these cases involved men between the age of 15 and 44, it said. A study on traumatic brain injuries in 23 hospitals of 4,1091 road injury victims showed that 42 per cent of deaths and 43 per cent of injuries were sustained by motorcyclists.

Twenty six per cent of the victims were pedestrians, the report added. Analysis of the nature of injuries showed that one-third of the road traffic injury victims sustained head injuries. Of the head injuries, 70 per cent of them suffered from concussion; 10 to 15 per cent had heamorrhage and another 5 to 10 per cent had skull fracture. Another 37 per cent of the road traffic injury victims sustained facial injuries; 30.2 per cent suffered upper limb injuries; and 0.6 per cent had neck injuries, it said.

G. Gururaj, professor and head of Department of Epidemiology, NIMHANS, said studies showed that helmets could bring down death rate among two-wheeler riders by 30 to 40 per cent, reduce head injuries by 20 to 30 per cent and decrease the period of hospitalisation for road injuries by 20 to 30 per cent. D. Nagaraja, Director of NIMHANS, said public awareness should be created on drunken driving and its hazards, he added.




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