PUDUCHERRY: The Puducherry government has announced that motorists riding two-wheelers and travelling pillion should both compulsorily wear helmets as the Union Territory has seen a rise in fatal road accidents in recent past.
Transport Commissioner A S Sivakumar said a notification has been issued making it compulsory for two-wheeler riders to put on helmet.
In a press release on Saturday, he said those riding two-wheelers without wearing helmets and those sitting pillion without using helmets would be levied a fine of Rs 1,000 each for first time violations. The driving licences of defaulters would also be suspended for three months.
Besides not wearing helmets, those found to be using mobile phones while riding the vehicles would also face penal action.
It may be mentioned that helmet wearing has not been compulsory in Puducherry till now.
Sivakumar said road accidents have been on the rise in Puducherry. He said 3,410 accidents occurred on the roads in the UT between 2019 and 2021. The Transport Commissioner said 445 two-wheeler riders have died in the accidents and they were found to have driven the vehicles without using helmets.
He said in the last four days, four persons riding two-wheelers were killed in road accidents in Puducherry, including one boy who succumbed to head injuries in Karaikal. All these victims were found to be riding two-wheelers without donning helmets.
Sivakumar said 181 people who had not used helmets died in road accidents between 2021 and 2022 in the UT.
The government has now come out with a slew of measures to ensure that two-wheelers compulsorily use helmets, henceforth. Sivakumar said those approaching the Transport Department to get driving licences should come with helmets for the tests.
Showrooms showcasing two-wheelers like scooters and motorcycles should compulsorily sell helmets of good quality to vehicle buyers.
The official said there were also instances of young boys riding two-wheelers with the permission of their parents. He said parents who let their wards ride the vehicles without licences would be slapped a three-year jail term besides a fine of Rs 25,000. The driving licence would be impounded for 12 months.
The Transport Commissioner asked people to use helmets, avoid reckless driving and also refrain from drunken driving in the larger interest of their safety and others on the road.
In the past, attempts were made by the government to ensure compulsory wearing of helmets but objections came from several quarters, including a section of political parties.
Those opposing the helmet-wearing directive of the government took a stand that the administration should generate awareness among the people on the necessity to wear helmets before implementing such a rule.
When retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi was the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, she had visited various places in the UT known for traffic snarls and directed motorists to use helmets.
There was a confrontation between the then L-G and political parties with Bedi batting for strict enforcement of the helmet rule and those opposing it resisting her directive. Ultimately, the government's move was kept on hold.