The Karnataka Transport Department has said that they will begin suspending driving licences of those people who are found riding their two-wheelers without a helmet. The driving licences of such riders, as well as pillion riders not wearing a helmet, could be suspended for three months. According to reports, the decision comes after a virtual meeting attended by the officials with the Supreme Court-appointed committee on road safety. Currently, motorists are fined Rs 500, after the state government decreased the fine from Rs 1,000, as mentioned in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act.
The Hindu reported the Transport Commissioner has issued a direction to all joint commissioners across divisions of the state so that this new enforcement system is put in place immediately. The new rule means that the rider will be penalised even if the pillion rider is found to ride without a helmet. An official speaking with The Times of India said at present, the provision of suspension of licence is only reserved for persons who are caught driving under the influence. Their licences are suspended for six months.
TOI quoted traffic police records stating that in Bengaluru, the number of persons caught riding without wearing helmets was 16.4 lakh in 2018, 20.3 lakh in 2019 and 20.7 lakh till September 2020. A report by The Hindu said that in a week, between September 13 and 19, there were 26,590 violations recorded by traffic police in Bengaluru involving helmetless riding. The following week the number had increased to 29,925.
The same report quoted Bengaluru Joint Commissioner (Traffic) of Bengaluru City Police, BR Ravikanthe Gowda, welcoming the move, who said that this move will curb the number of fatalities caused by road accidents. Multiple studies have shown proper usage of helmets can save lives. A United Nations study done in 2016 had said that proper usage of helmets in India can save the lives of at least 16,000 motorists in a year.