Helmet drive loses steam

Number Of Cases Registered By RTO Down To 117 From 1,758 A Month Ago
The campaign against helmetless driving has lost momentum since it was launched by the state government in August with a revised fine structure. The Road Transport Office (RTO) has booked only 117 two-wheeler riders in September as against 1,758 cases registered a month ago.The law says the rider as well as the pillion has to wear a helmet, but several people flout the norm with impunity while the traffic police seems helpless in making them comply .

Helmet compulsion has been in place for many years, but the present government introduced a new fine structure from August, which increased the penalty amount from Rs 100 to Rs 500. This also gave more teeth to the traffic police that launched an extensive drive across the city to check violations.

As per RTO, Pune city has over 23 lakh two-wheelers, but not every rider wears a helmet despite repeated appeals by the transport authorities and warnings of stern action.Regular riders and experts in the transport sector point out that use of helmets goes up only when the authorities intensify checks. The moment the drives are relaxed, many riders prefer not to wear helmets even if they have them.

Neeraj Deshpande, who uses a helmet religiously , said that besides fine, there is a need to create awareness among riders about the need to wear the head gear.

Sources in the RTO said the department’s drive against helmetless drivers is on and it has not lost momentum. An official said the checks have continued though cases registered could have dropped.

The RTO has booked 2,033 drivers in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad in the last six months (April to September).Cases registered in August remained highest during the period, followed by September.On average, about 340 riders are booked every month. Experts in the transport sector say the number of violators could be much more than the cases registered.

As per the revised fine structure, a helmet-less driver, if caught, is liable to pay a fine of Rs 500 instead of Rs 100. The RTO’s statistics show that there has been a rise in cases in the last two months.RTO had booked only 3 cases in July and 43 in June, which jumped to 1,758 and 117 in August and September.

Sources in the RTO said the squads conduct drives every month. In the last few days, especially in September, action was intensified against owners of school buses and vans who had not produced their vehicles for fitness test while in August similar action was intensified against helmet-less drivers.

Source : TOI