Steeper fines under the amended Motor Vehicles Act have been met with much opposition from the general public. With many states opposing the revised penalties, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari iterated that heavier fines were introduced to reduce road deaths and not for revenue generation.
Analysing statistics provided by the ministry, India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) has found that of all the road accidents that took place in 2017, two-wheelers were the worst hit.
In 2017, more than 48,746 two-wheeler users died in road mishaps. Incidentally, 73.8 per cent of them did not wear a helmet. This means that every hour, four two-wheeler users who died in a road accident did not wear a helmet.
The number of two-wheeler users who died in road accidents was 48,746, which was 33 per cent of the total deaths in road accidents. Two-wheeler users were followed by car/jeep/taxi users whose death toll was 26,869.
Truck and lorry users followed with a death toll of 17,158. Number of bus users dying in road accidents was 9,069 and the number of auto rickshaw users dying in road accidents was 7,167.
The death toll mentioned above includes both drivers and passengers. Of the total 35,975 non-helmet two-wheeler users, 58 per cent were drivers while 42 per cent were pillion riders.
Of the total non-helmet two-wheeler users who died in road accidents, half came from only four states.
The highest death toll was in Tamil Nadu. A total of 6,105 (around 17 per cent) two-wheeler users who died here in road accidents did not wear a helmet.
Tamil Nadu is followed by Uttar Pradesh where the death toll of such riders was 4,406 (12.25 per cent). Maharashtra came third at 4,369 deaths, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 3,183 deaths. Meghalaya and Mizoram were the only two states where no two-wheeler user who did not wear a helmet died.
SEVERITY OF ACCIDENTS
In Tamil Nadu, where the death toll of two-wheeler users not wearing a helmet was the highest, also recorded the highest number of two-wheeler related accidents – 25,393. Thus, of the total two-wheeler accidents in Tamil Nadu, a non-helmet rider died in only 24 per cent of the cases.
The death percentage for two-wheeler riders not wearing a helmet was the highest in Jharkhand – 52.33 per cent. This means that in one out of every two road accidents, a two-wheeler rider not wearing a helmet died in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand is followed by Rajasthan (40.84 per cent), Punjab (40.67 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (38.89 per cent), Maharashtra (36.81 per cent) and West Bengal (36.27 per cent).
In the states of Arunachal Pradesh (6.45 per cent), Nagaland (6.25 per cent), Kerala (5.55 per cent), Delhi (5.41 per cent), Tripura (4.17 per cent), Sikkim (4.17 per cent) and Jammu & Kashmir (1.01 per cent), the death rate was below 10 per cent. The death rate of non-helmet two-wheeler riders in Meghalaya and Mizoram was zero.
NOT WEARING A HELMET HURT IN 91 PER CENT CASES
While the death toll of two-wheelers riders not wearing a helmet was extremely high, it is also important to note that those who survived faced injuries.
In 91 per cent cases of two-wheeler accidents, a non-helmet rider was hurt, ie; they either died or were grievously injured or faced minor injuries.
For every hundred two-wheeler accidents in Tamil Nadu, 126 people were hurt. Tamil Nadu is followed by Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka where at least one two-wheeler rider who didn’t wear a helmet faced at least one injury.