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Helmet Laws in India

Why is riding a two-wheeler without a helmet illegal in India?

 

A recent study shows that 6 motorcycle riders face accidents every hour. As of 2019, over 37% of road accidents involved two-wheelers (1). Among the alarming rate of casualties, most are a result of head injuries, which reflects the remarkable neglect of helmet usage among two-wheeler riders. 

While several factors are responsible for individuals driving without helmets, 16% revealed to be under the impression that helmets are not mandated by law, which is completely untrue (2). 

While your love for comfort may win over the need for safety precautions, it can never be a preference over law mandates. The need for more stringent implementation of traffic laws was observed due to an increasing number of road accidents every year. 

While 2017 saw 35,975 deaths due to non-use of helmets, the number further rose to 43,614 in 2018 (3). Probably, this appalling number of casualties, which riders could prevent only with the use of headgear, prompted the government to improvise on already existing helmet laws in India.

To discourage riders from riding without a helmet, the initial Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 introduced Rs.1000 as a fine for not wearing a helmet . Additionally, the following table illustrates common traffic fines -

Offenses

Penalty for failure to adhere to the rule

Failure to carry driving license

Rs.5000

Over-speeding

Rs.1000 for LMV and Rs.2000 Medium Passenger Vehicle

Driving without motor insurance

Rs.2000

Drunken driving

Rs.2000

Is it mandatory for all riders to wear a helmet?

What are the helmet-related traffic laws in India?

Which types of helmets are not accepted?

Which States Have Helmet-Related Laws and Penalties for the Same?

Given the remarkable number of commuters protesting against the fine for not wearing a helmet, several states have come up with temporary provisions in place of the stringent rules specified under the modified Motor Vehicle Act. Here is a table of states with respective mandates regarding motorcyclists wearing helmets.

States

Course of action in case of non-compliance

Bihar, Haryana, Tripura, Assam

Motorcycle riders will face all penalties as specified in the new Motor Vehicle Act.

Gujarat

State government has modified amended laws to reduce the penalty for not wearing a helmet to Rs.500 from Rs.1000.

Uttar Pradesh

Riding a two-wheeler without a helmet can cost you a fine of up to Rs.600.

Uttarakhand

This state has also revised the new regulations to impose a lesser amount of fine in case of violation.

Kerala

Although previously implemented the latest norms, this state had to withdraw them due to disagreement of residents and Trade Unions.

Maharashtra

Fines of Rs.1000 and suspension of driving license for up to 3 months.

Karnataka

While the state government looks up to Gujarat regarding implementation, no concluding decision will be taken until further consultation with the Central government.

Odisha

The state has withheld implementation for 3 months, owing to severe disputes between drivers and traffic controllers.

West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Telangana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh

Governments of these states have decided completely against the modified laws. Therefore, two-wheeler users might follow the old specifications and respective fines.

You should not disregard or ignore the new regulations, depending on these motorcycle helmet laws by state since this irresponsible behaviour will only cost your safety in the end. Till the time it takes for all states to reinforce the habit of wearing helmets, make sure to inculcate this discipline in yourself and your family members. 

Most importantly, do not take the importance of helmets for kids lightly. Most parents prefer seating their children in front of them when driving. Also, avoid having more than 2 riders on board under any circumstances, regardless of their age. At the end of the day, all these legal obligations are only a way to help you travel safely.

Frequently Asked Questions