Activists and road safety experts have welcomed Monday’s High Court order making helmets mandatory for two-wheelers. They have appealed to State government agencies to enforce the rule permanently, rather as a short-term measure just to comply with the court order.
Ravi Damodaran, founder Citizen for Safe Roads, welcoming the move, wanted the traffic police to enforce it consistently. Since any action out of compulsion usually failed, he suggested that conducting awareness campaigns and education programmes would make two-wheeler riders “wear helmet voluntarily, helping in the cause of road safety.”
Compared to other metropolitan cities, compliance with traffic rules like strapping up seat belts and wearing helmets was very poor in Chennai, activists pointed out.
A senior traffic police officer said visible presence on the road during the night hours, vehicle checks and action against drunken driving had brought down the number of accidents, especially fatal ones, as a whole.
The Madras High Court’s ruling on helmets for two-wheeler riders had come as a “bonus for enforcement personnel” as two-wheeler riders will be forced to follow the rule, as failure to do so will lead to cancellation of driving licence, he added.Exemptions
Advocate V.S.Suresh Souli pointed out that provisions in the law gave exemptions to certain people from wearing helmets, but only under specific conditions.
P. Marudhanayagam, road safety consultant, welcomed the High Court’s intervention. “Although we have been creating awareness among people for several years now, many continue to flout the helmet rule. Now, we hope the High Court order will be followed properly,” he said.