The Road Transport Ministry on September 21 issued draft rules in a bid to ensure the safety of the passengers. As per the rules, it will be mandatory for car makers to install alarm systems for the rear seat belts.
Prioritising the safety of the passenger-carrying vehicles, the upcoming rules seek to replace the norm for “driver and co-driver safety belt reminder” with “driver and all other front-facing seat occupants safety belt reminder.”
The use of seat belts for both front and rear seat belts is mandatory under Rule 138(3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, failing which they can be fined up to Rs 1000. But passengers at the back use them and enforcement is lax.
The draft rule, once in practice, will make it obligatory for the car manufacturers to install a ‘safety-belt reminder’ or a system dedicated to alerting the driver when the driver and /or all other front-facing seat occupants do not use the safety belt.
The system is constituted by the detection of an unfastened safety belt and by a driver’s alert which is the first level warning.
In July 2019, the seatbelt reminder feature in the car’s security system was made mandatory. If the front seat passengers are not wearing the seat belts, the security system starts giving reminders, indicating that the belts are not fastened.
The latest addition to this rule would be the inclusion of rear seats as well as the recent plan of making six airbags mandatory in the new cars since the airbags deploy only if the seat belts are in use.
Going forward, the Ministry of Road Transport said that the government is also working out a new rule which makes the sales of clips used to restrict the use of seat belts, illegal.
Earlier this year, MoRTH in a statement said that, in order to enhance the safety of occupants of the motor vehicle against lateral impact, it has been decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.
The importance of these features further gains precedence in light of the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As per their record, road crashes accounted for over 1.55 lakh death in the country in 2021, this essentially indicates an average of 426 daily or 18 people losing their lives every single hour due to road accidents.
Commenting on the development, Maruti Suzuki said, “Safety is of paramount importance to us at Maruti Suzuki. We have always advocated the need for wearing seat belt in car both in front & rear. We welcome Govt. of India’s move towards making wearing seat belt mandatory in rear seat.”
Tata Motors added, “We are currently studying the draft amendment that has been published by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. At Tata Motors, we are always committed to passenger safety. It is our constant endeavour to enhance our products and user experience.”