NEW DELHI: From June 1, no non-BIS two-wheeler helmet can be manufactured or sold in the country and any violation of this would be treated as an offence. The road transport ministry on Thursday notified the quality control order for two-wheeler helmets to ensure that only safe headgears, which are also termed as “helmet vaccine for head injuries”, are made and sold in India.
Non-wearing or wearing of a poor-quality helmet is the biggest reason for two-wheeler riders dying in road crashes. Welcoming the move, Dr Amit Gupta, professor of Trauma Surgery at AIIMS told TOI, “Around 45% of the road traffic injuries are head injuries and out of these head injuries, 30% are severe traumatic brain injuries, which can lead to death or disability. Even moderate or mild head injuries have serious implications such as memory loss.”
The road transport ministry had been toying with this proposal for mandatory certification for years. During last year, 43,600 out of the 56,000 two-wheeler riders were killed for not wearing helmets. There is no official data of how many people died in crashes due to non-standard helmets.
Two-Wheeler Helmet Manufacturers Association president Rajeev Kapur said nearly 40% out of the about 2 lakh helmets sold daily in India don’t comply with the standard or are spurious. “In most of the cases, the two-wheeler riders simply wear plastic caps, which are as unsafe as not wearing a helmet. The new norm will save hundreds of lives and more because of stricter enforcement of traffic rules,” he added.
Many countries like India where more than 70% vehicles are two-wheelers have adopted the “Helmet Vaccine Initiative”, to save lives. Global studies have shown that adequate use of a certified helmet on roads can decrease the mortality risk by 40% and the risk of head injury by 70%.
Former president of International Road Federation, K K Kapila said the ban on non-standard helmets has become more important considering that post-Covid more people are expected to have shifted to two-wheelers from using public transport. “Enforcing helmet rules and bringing helmets under quality control is the most effective approach to reduce deaths of two-wheeler riders,” he added.