On Tuesday, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport & Highways, said that rear-seat passengers not wearing a seat belt will be penalised. The minister also said that the government will release an official notification in the coming three days detailing the penalty.
By law, it is mandatory for all occupants seated inside a car to wear seat belts. However, enforcement of the same when it comes to people sitting in the second row is often relaxed. Most are not even aware of the rule’s existence and think it is only the driver and co-passenger who have to wear a seatbelt to avoid a fine.
The minister further said that “Earlier, there was a penalty for not wearing a seat belt for the driver and co-passenger only, but we have updated the law to include rear seat passengers as well.”
Gadkari further stated that the government is in talks with Indian car manufacturers to include a beeper in the vehicle of all segments that will go off if the rear passengers at the rear do not wear a seat belt and the minister also said that this move comes because of the recent car accident of former Tata sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry on Sunday. As per the reports, Cyrus Mistry and his associate were seated at back and they were not wearing seat belts.
Taking about the tragic incident, The former Chairman of Tata Group was travelling from Ahmedabad to Mumbai along with three other people when his car hit a divider on the highway. Mistry died on the spot and another passenger also lost his life while on his way to the hospital while the people in the front row were severely injured.
They were travelling in a Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV, a vehicle that comes with many safety features. It was also reported that while the curtain airbags were deployed they did not prove to be enough to save the two lives in this case. Combined with the safety of the seatbelts and the deployment of the airbags, the two passengers at the back would potentially have not only survived the crash but also sustained fewer injuries than those in the front as it was a frontal collision.
As per the reports, the SUV was potentially overspeeding when it went out of control and hit the divider. In a recent report released by the National Crime Records Bureau, overspeeding resulted in more than half of the deaths in road accidents in the year 2021.
According to a recent road ministry report, the number of persons killed and injured due to not wearing a seat belt during 2020 stood at 15,146 and 39,102, respectively.