Kochi

Police, MVD to clamp down on helmetless riding from today

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Rule violators to be let off with warning first; strict enforcement to follow later

Personnel of traffic and local police and Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) will clamp down on helmetless pillion riders in Ernakulam district from December 1.

The police might not impose fine on rule offenders in the initial days, preferring to let them off with a warning. They will be told of the potential danger of driving sans headgear. It will be followed by strong rule enforcement, said G. Poonkuzhali, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kochi.

Traffic and local police personnel have been directed to simultaneously organise awareness drives to drive home the point of safety of two-wheeler riders, who have the highest casualty rate in road accidents. A few novel programmes to spread awareness are in the pipeline, it is learnt.

Punishment

A senior police official said the Motor Vehicles Act does not specify the punishment for helmetless pillion riding. But violators can be booked under miscellaneous provisions of the Act.

“Motorists must ensure that they purchase helmets that adhere to quality standards. This is especially true for helmets that are made specifically for children. The MVD can play an important role in this as it has better know-how,” said City Traffic Police Assistant Commissioner T.B. Vijayan.

For children

Quoting the Motor Vehicles Driving Regulations - 2017, a senior MVD official said every two-wheeler rider aged four and above must wear helmet.

“Till the Motor Vehicles Act was amended in 2017, a fine of ₹100 used to be imposed on helmetless riders under Section 177 of the Act. The fine has now been revised, and up to ₹500 can be imposed. Rule violators may even have to produce themselves before court and remit fine,” he added.

Even as different types of helmets, including those for children, are available online, shops selling headgear are doing brisk business thanks to the impending rule enforcement. “Our sales increased, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Adequate number of helmets has been stocked in my shop. Helmets for children are priced between ₹500 and ₹1,000, while bigger ones are priced between ₹500 and ₹5,000,” said K.C. Suneesh who owns a shop selling helmets at Kathrikadavu.

Even as the All Kerala Two-Wheeler Association welcomed the proposed enforcement of the rule, it wanted departments like PWD and municipal bodies to ensure safe and pothole-free roads.

“On their part, the police must arraign the engineer and contractor concerned as accused in accidents that happen due to shoddy roads,” said Benny Joseph, vice president of the association.

Bad roads

Referring to an accident in which his car suffered damage worth ₹1.50 lakh after it fell into an unmarked trench left unfilled by the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) in the city, he said the police were trying to tone down the provisions of the case by citing “mistake of fact” to let the engineer and the contractor go scot free.

The police and the Motor Vehicles Department must ideally have begun rule enforcement by proactively clamping down on motorists who resort to grave violation of traffic rules.

On its part, the government must ensure availability of good-quality helmets, Mr. Joseph said.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:34:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/police-mvd-to-clamp-down-on-helmetless-riding-from-today/article30127048.ece

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