The National Coalition of Road Safety, a coalition of road safety organisation promoting safe roads in India, has urged minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari to strengthen and immediately enforce the amended ‘helmet law’ (section 129 of the Motor Vehicles Act) that removes the power of states to provide any exemption in the use of helmets.
Under the earlier rule, except for Sikhs wearing a turban, all persons riding on a motorised two-wheeler were required to wear a helmet. Owing to public pressure, most states have been dragging their feet on implementation of the new provisions and have used this provision to provide exemptions for the use of helmets; like in urban areas or use by women.
Save the exemption provided to Sikhs wearing turban, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019 has now removed powers of states to provide any other exemptions. Since the Act has received the assent of the president it is now applicable to the entire country. Various sections of the Act must now be notified by the central government to bring them into force. The amended Act also increases the penalty for not wearing a helmet to Rs 1,000 and requires a mandatory suspension of the driver’s licence for a period of three months.
With the amended section 129 not included in the list of sections that have been brought into force, the National Coalition of Road Safety is concerned about its enforcement and therefore the road safety. Recently, Gujarat exempted the use of helmets in urban areas. The move has been severely criticised by road safety experts.
“This loophole is being used by states such as Gujarat to provide exemptions even though the supreme court has issued directions for strict implementation of the helmet rule,” says Sanskriti Menon of Centre for Environment Education (CEE), a Coalition partner.Source: Governance Now