- Alarm system for wearing rear seat belts to be made mandatory
- A new penalty structure is to be drafted for those not wearing rear seat belts
- Currently, a fine of ₹1000 is in place for those not wearing seat belts in the rear
Rear seatbelts often end up being forgotten and left unused, but that may change soon. As the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India (MoRTH) is considering making alarm reminders for rear seat belts mandatory. The announcement is expected to be made soon, and it may also feature a new penalty structure.
These developments come in the wake of the high-profile accident and death of former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was traveling in the rear seat without a seatbelt in his Mercedes GLS when it hit a divider at high speed.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari mentioned that provisions are being made to introduce a seat belt alarm system for rear seats, just like the driver’s seat.
Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory for the rear passenger as well. According to Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) persons “seated in the front seat or the persons occupying front facing rear seats” must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion.
Also read: 7 Essential Car Safety Features in India
However, the rule is often ignored in practice, and implementation too has been patchy so far. There is a substantial level of risk to the front passengers too if the rear passengers don’t wear their seatbelts: in case of a major impact, this can cause serious spine and head injuries to those sitting in the front as well.
The notification will see car manufacturers including beeping alarm tones for wearing rear seatbelts as is the case with the driver at present. The new announcement can be seen as a welcome decision as it focuses on the safety of all car occupants.