Indian Journal of Community Medicine

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 44  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 291--292

Poor awareness of role of helmet in preventing the head injury


Bindu Menon, Salini Pasupuleti 
 Department of Neurology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Bindu Menon
Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Nellore - 524 002, Andhra Pradesh
India




How to cite this article:
Menon B, Pasupuleti S. Poor awareness of role of helmet in preventing the head injury.Indian J Community Med 2019;44:291-292


How to cite this URL:
Menon B, Pasupuleti S. Poor awareness of role of helmet in preventing the head injury. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jul 6 ];44:291-292
Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2019/44/3/291/267344


Full Text



Sir,

India has witnessed an increase of road traffic accidents by 43% over the past 10 years.[1] The most vulnerable age group is the 30–59 years' group. India's share in the road traffic fatalities in the world is very high predominantly from the two-wheeler vehicles.[2] It has been estimated that the total number of road traffic deaths in India is likely to surpass 250,000 by 2025, which requires for urgent measures and rules in place.[3] Motorized two- or three-wheelers are a significant cause of preventable death, predominantly in men of productive age.[4] Of the several road safeties, helmet use during accidents has been shown to have better outcomes.[5],[6]

We conducted a study on 500 patients/caregivers who attended our hospital outpatient services using two-wheeler, to see the reason for not using a helmet while driving two-wheelers. Male: female ratio was 3:1. The average age was 35±6 years. More than half (54%) felt that helmets were not essential. Forty-seven percent did not even own a helmet. Of the 53% who owned helmet, only 22% were using it. However, only 5% were regular users others used it only while traveling in highways. Seventy-one percent had been fined for not using helmets. Sixty-one percent reported having a vehicular accident while driving two-wheeler during the past 1 year. The details of the accident were not enquired. Reasons given for not wearing the helmet are shown in [Table 1]. Patients quoted more than one reason.{Table 1}

Our study showed that patients had several reasons for not using helmets. Although 50% of the patients owned a helmet, only 5% were regular users. Although around 70% had been fined for not using helmets and 61% had an accident earlier, still they preferred not to wear the helmet.

We found that the reasons for not using the helmets were very insignificant and several. Thirty-three percent felt that helmets are not required for their short journeys. Indian Ministry of Road Transport reported fatalities due to other roads as 37.1% and state highways as 26.9%, while national highways accounted for 36.0%.[5] It was surprising that although 97% felt that helmets are protective, they did not wear and expressed several reasons, which were trivial as depicted in [Table 1]. In fact, a study also stated that the correct wearing of best available helmets improves survival by 42% and reduces injuries by 69%.[7] Our study highlights the poor awareness among the public about the importance of using helmets for two-wheeler driving. It is imperative that the government enforces traffic rule and the public follow those rules and good road safety practices among the community to avoid this emerging public health problem.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Ministry of Road Transport and Highways Government of India. Road Accidents in India – 2016. New Delhi; 2017. Available from: http://www.morth.nic.in. [Last accessed on 2018 Feb 03].
2Mohan D, Tiwari G, Bhalla K. Road Safety in India- Status Report. New Delhi: Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme. Delhi: Indian Institute of Technology; 2015. p. 1-2.
3Singh SK. Road traffic accidents in India: Issues and challenges. Transp Res Procedia 2017;25:4708-19.
4Hsiao M, Malhotra A, Thakur JS, Sheth JK, Nathens AB, Dhingra N, et al. Road traffic injury mortality and its mechanisms in India: Nationally representative mortality survey of 1.1 million homes. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002621.
5Bhoi S, Singh A, Sinha TP, Pal R, Galwankar S, Baluja A, et al. Magnitude and spectrum of injuries sustained in road traffic accidents among two wheeler riders and correlation with helmet use. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2018;11:160-4.
6Khor D, Inaba K, Aiolfi A, Delapena S, Benjamin E, Matsushima K, et al. The impact of helmet use on outcomes after a motorcycle crash. Injury 2017;48:1093-7.
7UNECE. “How it Works and how to Join it” Series. United Nations, New York and Geneva: The United Nations Motorcycle Helmet Study; 2018. p. xi. Available from: https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/publications/WP29/United_Nations_Motorcycle_Helmet_Study.pdf. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 24].