Repeated reprimands or fines by the traffic police for not wearing helmets are not enough for the two-wheeler riders across India who still fail to adhere to rules that are crucial to their own and others’ safety.
Truth be told, it’s not that people are not aware of the consequences of not wearing a helmet. The idea that ‘it won’t happen to me or anyone I know’, somehow, seems to convince most riders to ditch the helmet.
And then there are cases when people, to avoid getting caught by cops, purchase cheap and unsafe helmets from makeshift stalls that one can find near every main road and highway these days. This practice continues unabated.
Well, hopefully not anymore, as the government is all set to mandate a Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification for helmets, the way it is for all our home appliances and electronic products.
Currently under consideration, this regulation addresses the need for a superior safety standard for helmets which is expected to override the existing one. The new standard will cater to the needs of heavier and better quality headgears meant for driving at higher speeds.
This rule will adhere to the already existed BIS standard for helmets that weigh up to 1.2 kg, which was recommended by a government-appointed multi-disciplinary panel to make the helmets lighter. However, this standard had faced objection from certain importers, as their helmets meet the European standards but crossed the BIS weight restriction.
“We should not deny the sale of a superior quality helmet if it’s safe. So, there is nothing wrong in going for another standard. However, anyone importing helmets will have to get the BIS certification to sell them in India. BIS certification is not possible unless we have a notified standard,” said a government official to The Times of India (TOI).
If the norm is approved, all helmet manufacturers will have to obtain BIS-certification for their products, or else face penalisation. Hopefully, this much-needed move would not only help bring down the production of cheap and unsafe helmets but also reduce road-accident casualties due to poor quality helmets.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)