Move to make non use of seat belt and helmet punishable

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Gujarat Global News Network, Delhi

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would soon take the initiative to expose the people to safety protocols while driving. This follows the death of Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident in Delhi on Tuesday.

A multi-media campaign in collaboration with NGOs working on safety is being considered, the Health Minister informed. “The focus would be the child victims of accidents –whether direct or as those left behind by a parent or both parents who did not care to be careful,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said. Children also tend to worship the wrong role models. Instead of deifying those who drive or bike rashly, they should be exposed to the right way of life, he added.

The direct child victims of accidents represent a greater tragedy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children over the age of 10 should wear a seat belt and younger children should be in a child restraint. A report of UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents stated that the car manufacturer Volvo’s patented three-point belt design had saved 1 million lives worldwide, the Health Minister pointed out.

He said it was a matter of concern that young people in India, like their counterparts all over the world, are nowadays manifesting disinterest towards seat belts and helmets (while riding motor bikes). Research findings hold that the greatest reluctance is shown by women drivers and motorcyclists, especially when riding pillion, he pointed out. For this the number of female deaths has shown an increase in recent times disproportionate to their active role in urban traffic, stated the Health Minister.

There should also be a degree of coercion, the Minister felt.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I would like to seek the cooperation of the associations of petroleum dealers all over the country to utilise the pumps as points of interface with car and bike users. Perhaps a system could be developed under which petrol and diesel sales can be denied to those who don’t use seat belts and helmets. At any rate a new law is necessary along the lines of European Union countries to make non-seat belt and helmet use punishable.”

He also said that apart from ignoring seat belts, the new generation of drivers and bikers speak on mobile phones and even text while on the wheel. This is so rampant that anybody would be entitled to think that the population lacks basic education on safety, the Health Minister said.

“Let us regard the Gopinath Munde tragedy as the turning point,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said in his appeal to the people. “The Minister’s tragic and untimely death should be a wakeup call to all vehicle owners. A life saved is a life earned and a potential change maker in society preserved for the future.”
 “For news in Hindi see our Hindi daily Chaupal Chronicle”

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