The central government has proposed to mandate the use of a safety harness and helmet for children riding pillion on two-wheelers. The new rules will cover children up to the age of four years and are accompanied by a maximum 40-km per hour speed limit for the vehicle. Any violation of the speed limit will attract a fine of Rs 1,000 and a three-month suspension of the driver's licence.
The new rules have been proposed via an amendment to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, headed by Nitin Gadkari, issued the draft rules for public comments earlier this month. Once finalised, the rules will come into effect a year later.
Government sources said they expect the public consultation process to conclude within 30 days and the final rules to come into effect by the end of 2022. State governments will have to accordingly implement the norms in their respective jurisdictions.
The safety harness to be worn by the child will have to be adjustable and come with a pair of straps that form shoulder loops that secure the child to the driver. The harness will have to meet specifications prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards, including being light weight, adjustable, waterproof and durable. The material will have to be heavy nylon or multifilament nylon material with high density foam and be designed to hold a weight of up to 30 kg.
The driver will also have to ensure that the child pillion passenger aged between nine months and four years wears a crash helmet or a bicycle helmet, complying with the standards specified by the government.
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