January 1 saw the mandatory helmet rule come into force for Pune citizens. The mandate was applauded by citizens and the media, but soon faced a huge backlash from a section of anti-helmet activists and political parties.
The reality is that the mandate did help save many lives from being lost on the roads. Data revealed by the police department showed that the number of deaths in road accidents in Pune substantially dropped as compared to the previous years.
Around 250 people died in road mishaps in 2018, while the count was 260 in 2017.
January 2018 saw 27 people dying in road mishaps and 47 people sustained major injuries. In January 2019, only 15 fatalities and 37 seriously injured cases were reported.
Citizens unanimously felt that the helmet-mandatory drive that took off with much zeal at the beginning of the year was a major reason for the decreased number of road accidents.
“It was definitely the helmet drive that caught the attention of people and helped save lives on the road. There was a lot of awareness and campaigning by the police officials, public organisations and the media at large in making Pune roads safer.
There was the fear of being caught by traffic cops on driving helmetless. We could see only a small number of riders without helmets who end up paying the price for not adhering to safety regulations. The strict enforcement has certainly helped decrease the number of fatalities in the city,” says Ranjit Jadhav of Kothrud.
“The number of fatalities has definitely decreased, but these is a long way to go.
There are still some casualties and head injuries,” shares Dr. Roshan Palresha, Head of Emergency Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital.
“This is because many Puneites are often stubborn when it comes to following traffic regulations. Not everyone is taking the helmet rule or even the traffic rules seriously.”
The efforts of the police personnel would however have sustained throughout the year, but this initiative like many other began to lose steam. Neither are the authorities alert enough to carry on the drive for long, nor are the people supporting enough.
Moreover, the frequent transfers of skilled officials again bring the city to ground zero,” quips a Kondhwa resident, Manzoor Azhar.
For the record, Tejaswi Satpute, Ex- Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) lead the mandatory helmet drive in the city on January 1, 2019. She has been transferred as Superintendent of Police, Satara on Monday.
Reports also revealed that around 466 people were seriously injured in 2018 as compared to 536 in 2017 with 225 persons who sustained minor injuries as compared to 314 last year.
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