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Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have been asked to form a Road Safety Club to reach out to educational institutions to ensure full-fledged compliance with helmet rule by students.

The idea was discussed at a recent meeting of Road Safety Committee chaired by Collector K. Rajamani. The focus of the club’s activities, to be coordinated by the three RTOs of Tiruchi West, Tiruchi East and Srirangam, will be creation of awareness in schools and colleges on wearing helmets as also other road safety rules, K. Umasakthi, Regional Transport Officer - Tiruchi West, said.

Supported by the traffic police, the Transport Department has been creating awareness among the students at the Traffic Park in the Collectorate campus. During a recent programme, a few thousands of students learnt various aspects of road safety.

Transport department is also involved in checking helmet-less rides on two-wheelers and imposing fine. It would ask heads of institutions to prevent students riding two-wheelers without helmets, Umasakthi said. Vehicles driven by students without licences would be confiscated. Parents of students would be warned against letting their children use two-wheelers again until they obtain their licence, the RTO said.

Meanwhile, the traffic police are enforcing the helmet rule.

They are in a fix due to inability to determine if the motorists are wearing ISI certified helmets. The police can ensure compliance. But, it is quite difficult to distinguish genuine helmet from fake ones.

It is impractical for the police to determine the genuineness of helmets, according to Sekar, an insurance agent of two-wheelers in Palakkarai.

The difficulty is accentuated when fake helmets carry ISI marks. Motorists purchase helmets of low quality from roadside sellers for a few hundreds of rupees. The genuine branded helmets that are sturdy are three to four times costlier.

According to a salesman in an automobile accessories shop, the preference of customers is for light-weight helmets. But, the fact that there cannot be a price on safety is ignored by many.

Retailers say the Government has instructed branded helmet manufacturers to bring down the weight of headgear and make it sturdier. But, the challenge in differentiating between the fake and genuine helmets is bound to remain, a police official said.

Inspector of Tiruverumbur Police Station Madhan said some kind of intervention was still possible. The quality of helmets sold on the roadside will be thoroughly checked. The fake ones would be seized and cases will be booked against the sellers, he said.

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