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Seat belts are now mandatory for all cars plying on Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The rule applies to the passengers sitting at the rear, as well. Pune highway police have already started enforcing the rule and charges a fine of Rs 200 to any offender.
Though those travelling in vehicles should wear seat belts as per law, the rule was never made strict for the rear passengers. In fact, even if a car is travelling with no passengers wearing seat belts, authorities would only fine the ones sitting at the front.
According to Times Of India, the initiative was coined by Additional DGP, Rashmi Shukla almost a month before. For almost two weeks, the police started requesting all passengers in four-wheelers to wear seat belts. But since there has not been a major change through this, the officials started fining offenders. They've fined at least 50 passengers by now.
Amol Tambe, SP, Highway Safety Patrol (HSP) shared, "Two teams, each consisting of four constables, have been posted round-the-clock at the Urse toll post on the expressway. They initially requested drivers and passengers to wear seat belts but have now started fining them. Rear seat passengers are also required to wear seatbelts."
A recent study on accidents done by Regional Transport Office officials proved that most road fatalities happening in India, mainly involve passengers sitting at the rear without wearing seatbelts. Often during an impact, rear passengers would be thrown towards the front windscreen.
Manufacturers try their best to make cars as safe as possible (watch the recent Maruti Brezza crash test video) while some others fail to do so.
"We have observed that many car drivers have taken out the seat belts or have tucked them under the seat covers because the buckle/push buttons of these belts pinch the passengers. Such cars have been taken off the expressway and their drivers have been instructed to fix the seat belts again", he further added.
Another recent news is that pedestrian safety features will become mandatory in India soon. The country aims to increases the safety standards to that of various developed nations in the near future.
Many cars on the market come with only two seatbelts at the rear and hence it is not possible for three passengers to travel behind without breaking the law. Furthermore, passengers travelling in cars from before the mid-90s will also be exempted; the reason being that such cars never featured seat belts that commonly.
Thoughts On Making Seatbelts Mandatory Even For The Rear Passengers
The new rule is definitely worth following but in some cases, the public will face some difficulties to do so even if they want to. For instance, in most small cars sold today, wearing the rear seatbelts causes extreme discomfort while in some other cars, they are not even usable. The absence of a seatbelt for the middle passenger is also a problem, as mentioned before. However, if the rule is applicable on a wider scale, car manufacturers will surely come up with relevant solutions.