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Seat belt alarm system for all passengers soon ; fine for not wearing seat belt

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Sep 08, 2022 4:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, has stated that his ministry is considering making a seat belt warning alarm system mandatory for rear seat passengers. Gadkari also stated that a notification detailing a penalty structure for rear seat occupants who are found not wearing seat belts will be issued within the next three days.

While road safety and automotive experts emphasise the critical importance of using rear-occupant seat belts in passenger vehicles, Gadkari also recognised the importance of buckling up in the back. The seat belt warning alarm is currently required for front-seat passengers, but it will now be required for rear-seat occupants as well, he said.

Addressing an event organised by Business Standard on September 6, the minister said, “The irritating beep will compel rear-seat occupants to belt up as well.”

Although a Rs 1,000 fine is already in place under Article 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), the issue appears to be more about user behaviour and enforcing the rules. Most people in India disregard wearing seat belts in the backseats of a car, assuming they are in a much safer position because there is no dashboard or steering wheel directly in front of them.

Unbelted rear passengers pose risk even to belted front occupants

Crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit organisation based in the United States, indicate that if a car is involved in a frontal collision while travelling at 56kph, the rear seat occupants will be thrown to the front. This means that the rear seat occupants will not only endanger their own lives, but also the lives of the front seat occupants, despite the fact that the latter are wearing seatbelts and the vehicle is equipped with multiple airbags.

The ministry issued a draft notification earlier this year mandating six airbags in all passenger vehicles with seating for up to eight occupants beginning October 1, 2022. Despite the fact that the automotive industry has responded by claiming that this would cause car prices to skyrocket, particularly for entry-level vehicles, the recent incident has highlighted the fact that seat belts remain the primary means of ensuring safety inside a passenger vehicle, followed by airbags, which are supplemental restraint systems.

Upward trend of accidents in India

Gadkari's statement comes just days after the recent road accident that killed former Tata Sons and Tata Motors chairman Cyrus Mistry. According to the most recent data on road safety, there is an upward trend in both the number of accidents and the number of lives lost in the country. The National Crime Record Bureau’s report on Accidental Deaths in India 2021 released last month reports a total of 4,03,116 road accident cases last year. This is an increase of 13.61 percent year on year. While fatalities in road accidents have increased by 16.83 percent, from 1,33,201 in 2020 to 1,55,622 in 2021, a total of 3,71,884 people were injured, up 11 percent on 2020’s 3,35,000.

Also Read: E-Highway: प्रदूषण कम करने सरकार का बड़ा कदम, E-Highway से मिलेगा पॉल्युशन का समाधान!

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