Helmet, wearing of seat belt made mandatory for policemen in the Union Territory

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In what could be yet another effort to revive mandatory wearing of helmet, the Police Department on Thursday issued an internal circular to its workforce stipulating mandatory wearing of helmet and seat belt while driving their vehicle

In what could be yet another effort to revive mandatory wearing of helmet, the Police Department on Thursday issued an internal circular to its workforce stipulating mandatory wearing of helmet and seat belt while driving their vehicle

“As observed by senior officers, it shall be seriously ensured that every police officer/personnel of Puducherry Police, India Reserve Battalion and Home Guards including the pillion rider hereinafter should wear the helmet compulsory while driving the motor cycle. Also those driving and travelling in four-wheeler should compulsorily wear the seat belt,” Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) said in a written communication to senior officers.

The senior officers including Superintendents of Police, Deputy Commissioner, IRBn and Inspectors have been directed to instruct assistant sub inspectors, head constables, police constables and home guards to strictly comply with the direction.

The Union Territory has had a chequered history of making helmet wearing compulsory. In the past, the government had to reverse its decisions to make compulsory wearing of helmet after stiff opposition from legislators.

The issue had even snowballed into a major turf war between the then Lt Governor Kiran Bedi and former Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy in 2019. Ms. Bedi had insisted on making the rule mandatory as she felt non adherence to compulsory wearing of helmet was brazen violation of Motor Vehicles Act and directives of Madras High Court.

For the last few weeks, the traffic police have been conducting vehicle checks to catch underage two-wheeler rides. Police have also been asking parents to wear helmets while taking their wards to schools.

According to a senior official, around 78 fatal accidents have occurred in 2021 and this year till August, 82 people lost their lives while travelling in two-wheeler. Of the 82 fatalities, 63 people lost their lives due to head injury, said the officer.

“We thought of making people think about the need to wear helmets by first imposing the rule on making the head-gear mandatory for our own men. Also, there is a need to make seat belts mandatory. So, we thought of starting with making the rule mandatory for law enforcers,” a senior official told The Hindu.

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