The tragic death of former Tata Son’s Chairman Cyrus Mistry, 54, in a horrific car crash on Sunday, has again brought to centre stage the debate on Indians being careless over wearing seat belts, especially those sitting in the back seat of cars.
Around 70 per cent of Indians do not wear seat belts in the rear seat of a moving vehicle, a survey conducted on Monday by LocalCircles, a community social media platform. The quick survey was conducted among 10,598 respondents across the country.
According to Central Motor Vehicle Rules, wearing a seat belt is mandatory for a passenger sitting in the rear seat. Rule 138 (3) states that persons “seated in the front seat or the persons occupying front facing rear seats” must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. A fine of Rs 1,000 has been provided for those violating the seat belt rule.
However, most people are under the false impression that sitting in the back seat is safe even if they are not wearing a seat belt as those sitting in front bear the brunt of the impact in a collision. However, what they overlook is that in the case of a collision a person without a seat belt is thrown forward at the speed of the car like a projectile, resulting in serious injury or death. A seat belt keeps a person securely tied to the seat and prevents this from happening.
This is why in a large number of accidents persons sitting in the front seat survive or are less seriously injured than those sitting in the back seat of a car.
Statistics show that while India has only 1% of the world’s cars, the country accounts for 11% of the road deaths. Not wearing seat belts is a major factor due to which this is happening.
According to the WHO, every year approximately 1.3 million people die as a result of road accidents with the top reason being over speeding which increases the fatality rate by over 85 per cent for the occupants. Wearing seat belts could result in reducing these deadly figures.
Emphasising this fact, industrialist Anand Mahindra has tweeted that we must take a pledge “to always wear my seat belt even when in the rear seat of the car. We all owe it to our families.”