CHENNAI: One-third of two-wheeler riders killed in road accidents in TN last year were not wearing helmets. This alarming statistic has come to light following the release of Road Accidents in India-2016, an annual report relased by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The report, which revealed that Tamil Nadu topped the list of states with maximum road accidents, specified that a total of 1,946 persons in the State lost their lives as they did not wear helmets. It was also reported that 632 persons were killed on account of not wearing seat belts.
While the 2015 report did not carry such statistics, the number of persons killed due to non-use of seat belts and helmets found mention in the 2016 report. Only Uttar Pradesh (6,559) saw more fatalities than TN in this regard.
Looking at the numbers nationwide, out of the 52,500 two-wheeler riders killed during 2016, 10,135 (19.3 per cent) were not wearing helmets. Non-wearing of seat belts was reported in 5,638 accident deaths.
It was out of concern over the increasing number of deaths that the Madras High Court made helmets mandatory from July 1, 2015. The court directed authorities to impound driving licences in case of violation and return them only after fines were paid in courts.
But, road safety organisations rue the abject lack of enforcement of the court’s order. Commenting on the report’s findings, M Radhakrishnan, founder of Thozhan, a city-based NGO, said, “This July, we did a survey of 12 locations in the city and found only 40-50 per cent of riders wearing helmets. It is the duty of enforcement officials, traffic police included, to ensure everyone wears helmets as mandated by the court.”
Police officials, on the other hand, say there must be a collective responsibility.
A senior traffic police officer stated that the riders in the 15-35 age group are vulnerable. “We must concentrate on educating and sensitising the riders. Schools, colleges and family all have a major role in this endeavour,” he said.
Share of Top 5 states
in road accidents
Tamil Nadu 14.9 %
Madhya Pradesh 11.2
No of bike riders killed in road accidents last year in the country, accounting for 34.8% of total fatalities. There were 26,923 (17.9%) four-wheeler (cars, taxis, vans and LMVs) casualties.
According to the report, the top 13 states accounted for 83.7 per cent of total road fatalities last year.