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It’s Sad But True! Roughly 1.35 Million People Die Every Year Worldwide Owing To Road Accidents

India has made progress in significant areas pertaining to road safety but we still have a long way to go. The increasing number of road tragedies in the country is a constant reminder of the magnitude of this problem.

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We must stop deaths on the roads. No one would argue with that, of course. Therefore for us who live in India and many other developing countries, it has become a must to make road safety a priority, especially after a string of dramatic crashes that have made headlines across the country.

The global statistics are equally concerning. Global status report on road safety 2018 indicates that the global burden of deaths on the world’s roads remains unacceptably high; it is also the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years. It has also revealed that more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Furthermore, it states that around 22 countries representing 1 billion people have amended their laws on one or more risk factors to bring them into alignment with best practice.

Well, India too is not far behind!

The new Helmet standards IS 4151:2015 have replaced the existing IS 4151:1993 in the country.

Moreover, The Transport and Highway Ministry had issued a draft notification for banning the Non-ISI helmets and that manufacturing and storage of Non-ISI helmets for two-wheelers will be a criminal offence, and it will lead to arrest without warrant.  While for the first offence the penalty will amount to two years jail or a fine of at least Rs 2 lakh, subsequent offences would attract a higher fine.

It will be a great initiative by the Government and the complete ISI helmet industry is welcoming it happily because as of now the ISI Helmet Manufacturers are working at less than 50% of the capacity, as the market is flooded with the Non-ISI Helmets. So, if the policy is implemented the ISI helmet manufacturers can easily overlay the fake ISI Helmets in the market, as then they can surely utilize their 100% capacity. In result to that, the Indian consumers will get a certified product and will be safe on roads.

Two-wheeler riders should ensure that they wear ISI certified helmets

Regardless of the fact that wearing a helmet is a good way to ensure safety; in our country riders until now have underestimated its role and have often bought cheap headwear, which did not protect them well. And unfortunately, this was giving rise to the substandard helmet manufacturers. And just as fake medicines are harmful and poisonous so were these fake helmets.

If the new policy is implemented, there will be a complete ban on sale and manufacturing of NON-ISI helmets. Then, no one will have access to substandard products.  Although, selling of NON-ISI marked helmets is equivalent to selling fake medicine.

This will surely be a big step forward towards road safety as certified helmets are proven to reduce the risk of death by 42 per cent and severe injury by 69% in the event of a crash.

Therefore, if the new policy gets in place the injuries due to road accidents will decrease. This will also save a lot of money for the government as they were spending a lot on the police, medical expenditures, hospitals, Insurance etc.

Also, the estimated demand for helmets is around 90 million pieces per annum. And this gap will now be filled by those players who meet the new ISI Standard which specifies requirements for materials, construction, workmanship, finish and performance for a protective helmet (with or without lower face cover) for everyday use by two-wheeler riders.

The culture of safety finally making its way on Indian roads

India is an emerging market with lot of potential for helmets with reference to helmet standards. So far  75%  to 80% of helmets used by two-wheeler riders across India did not meet ISI standards, the market was flooded with sub-standard products that compromised on safety despite a fourth of all road deaths involve two-wheeler occupants.

The new policy will enhance the safety levels and curb poor quality helmet sales. The new two-wheeler helmets under the mandatory certification regime will be lighter and airier and be subject to strident quality checks. Under the new standards, helmet manufacturers will have to ensure a maximum weight of 1.2 kg for a helmet, as opposed to the current weight of 1.5 kg.

Those who already have bought should not use the fake product as it is dangerous and can lead to fatal injuries. As per the Motor Vehicle Act, each and every two-wheeler rider must use ISI marked helmet only.

I would also like to throw some light on the activities in which the Government is Indulge. The Government is spending an incredible amount on road safety, giving priority to the infrastructure like Highways, Subways and Bridges. Many steps have been taken for the safety of the pedestrians, like putting up  Zebra Crossings, Streetlights and footpaths, and also making efforts to make people aware of it. So, We request the Government to make ISI mark helmet mandatory Pan India leading so that millions of lives are saved. Also keeping in mind, requesting the government to reduce GST from 18% to 5% as right now the helmets come under a luxury product, although the helmet is a safety product, resulting a decrease in the cost of ISI certified helmets. Lots of lives and money will be saved due to this.

To conclude, our country has made progress in significant areas pertaining to road safety but we still have a long way to go. The increasing number of road tragedies in the country is a constant reminder of the magnitude of this problem. But at the same time, we already know what kind of solutions are needed to overcome this. Also, the people need to understand that policies are effective when they are adhered.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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steelbird Rajeev Kapur road safety ISI mark Helmets

Rajeev Kapur

President, Two Wheeler Helmet Manufacturers Association. Rajeev is also the MD & CEO of Steelbird Helmets

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