Seat belts, head restraints and safety regulations
- The three-point seat belt is a passive safety device which was engineered by Nils Evar Bohli.
- It was first incorporated into a car by Volvo in 1959.
What are the reasons to make seat belts mandatory for every passenger?
- The Ministry of Road Transport has found that during 2017, 26,896 people lost their lives due to not wearing seat belts, while 16,876 of them were passengers.
- During a car crash, especially at moderate to high speeds, the driver or passenger who has not worn a seat belt will continue to move forward at the speed of the vehicle. This will result in an impact that could cause injury or even death to the occupant.
- The Centre for Road Safety at the Transport Department of New South Wales, Australia (NSW Centre), have found that “even if the vehicle is fitted with an airbag, the force at which an unrestrained occupant strikes the airbag can cause serious injuries.”
- Not wearing seat belts could lead to rear seat occupants colliding with internal objects, such as seats or other passengers, in the car, or even being ejected through the front windscreen during the collision.
What has been done to ensure the wearing of seatbelts
- The Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 mandates the occupants of a passenger vehicle to wear a seat belt.
- Section 194(B) of the Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 states that, 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.
- On February 11, 2022, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification which mandated that three-point seat belts to be provided in all vehicles coming under the M1 category, viz, for carriage of passengers comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat, for vehicles manufactured from October 1.
What needs to be done
- Even though cars are equipped with seat belts for rear seats as well, the enforcement for rear seat occupants is almost absent in India. This needs to be rectified.
- Taxicabs often have missing seat belts which results in passengers not using them. This needs to be rectified as well.
Source The Hindu
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