Road safety is of prime importance as road accidents are among the biggest causes of death in the country. Taking cognisance of this fact, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced the central government would now make it mandatory for all travellers in a car to wear a seat belt. The Minister expects to finalise rules for all cars to have six airbags by the end of the current fiscal year.
Though the Minister did not specify the quantum of fine on defaulters, he said seat belts, just like the installation of airbags for all passengers, would be mandatory for all categories of cars. In terms of road accidents, India is one of the countries that has retained its position as the highest in the world. In 2021, around 5,00,000 road accidents happened in the country, killing 150,000 people. A whopping 60% of casualties emanate from road mishaps and this has a direct hit on the country’s economy. Buckle up, let us understand the laws on seat belts.
Law on Seat Belts
Do you know, in India, seat belts are compulsory in both the front and back seats? Well, according to section 194(B) (1) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, “Whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt or carries passengers not wearing seat belts shall be punishable with a fine of one thousand rupees”. If you wear a seat belt, it reduces the impact of an accident by 80%. It is also mandatory for automakers to provide three-point seat belts for all front-facing passengers in a car, including the middle seat in the rear row of a car. Seat Belt To Be Mandatory for Rear Seat Passengers Also in Car, Says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (Watch Video).
How Wearing A Seat Belt Saves Your Life
What exactly happens to an unbelted passenger? It involves understanding basic science and mathematics, which is normally ignored. For instance, you are driving on a highway at 130 kmph; your body is travelling at the same speed. When an obstacle comes and suddenly your car hits the object and brakes are applied, the car stops with a wobble but not your body. Your body would be thrown forward with such a speed that you would hit the front row and even the dashboard hard. That kind of momentum can lead to serious injuries and in some cases, fatality.
How Do Airbags and Seatbelts Work?
Air Bags are there to give protection and are designed to work best in combination with seat belts. They reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash. It is important to know that even when every car in India comes with front and rear seatbelts, not every vehicle is equipped with rear airbags. The centre is on the path to making it mandatory for all cars to be equipped with at least six airbags, this won’t include airbags in the front headrests meant for rear passengers. Nitin Gadkari Recalls Journey in Cars of Four CMs, Says Clips Were Used to Silence Seatbelt Alarm on Front Seat.
The United Nations General Assembly has set an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2030. The plan of action for India will include mandating alarm-beeping features in all vehicles if a rear-seat passenger is not wearing a seatbelt.
A Reality Check
The attitude towards seat belts in the rear seat is poor in India. People lack awareness and there is a role of ignorance in complying with the facts. It is not uncommon to find people who prefer to sit back just to avoid the “inconvenience” of wearing a seat belt. It is a lack of realisation that policies and rules are formed to ensure the basic safety measure that can turn out to be a lifesaver in case of an accident.
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Sep 07, 2022 08:05 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).