Following the untimely demise of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry due to negligence in wearing of rear seat belt, the nation has been put on high alert to check whether the public is now taking care of this problem or not. Recently many states have implemented the rule for the compulsory use of rear seatbelts for passengers in the back seats. Police in certain cities have already started fining the people at fault, and the same was about to begin in Maharastra’s capital Mumbai from the 1st of November. Although recently it was reported that the upcoming rule has been postponed by ten days.
Raj Tilak Roushan, Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Police (Traffic), reportedly made the announcement about the delay. He stated that the campaign to catch those who don’t wear seat belts has been delayed by 10 days. This delay has been made so that the Mumbai commuters can be made aware of this through new rules and upcoming implementation through social media and radio. This would allow Mumbai commuters to have adequate time to become aware of the safety drive before it begins on November 10. Following the implementation of this rule offenders will receive e-challans with a Rs 200 fine.
According to section 194(B)(1) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act of 2019, anybody driving a motor vehicle without a safety belt or transporting passengers who are not wearing seatbelts or helmets is subject to punishment. Furthermore in an attempt to crack down on two-wheeler commuters who carry passengers without rear helmets similar campaign will be launched. Similar to the rear seat belt law, the requirement that rear passengers wear helmets is frequently disregarded and not severely enforced. However, when a crackdown is launched against offenders, this will quickly alter in Mumbai.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways quickly took action and made seat belt use for back passengers a requirement. This new regulation went into force quickly in Delhi, where the local police department began sending challans to violators. On September 14, the first day of the operation, the Delhi Police issued 17 court challans near Connaught Place on Barakhamba Road. On the second day, 41 challans were given to violators who were seen at the back of the vehicle not wearing seat belts. Offenders in Palam and Vasant Kunj also received more challans. Under Section 194B of the Motor Vehicles Act, which addresses the usage of safety belts, each of these violators received a fine of Rs 1,000.
Furthermore, recently the biggest cab aggregators in the country Ola and Uber reportedly started enforcing their drivers to ensure rear seatbelts in their vehicles are accessible to all passengers. According to Reuters, the ride-hailing giant Uber’s Indian subsidiary in an advisory to its drivers stated that “To avoid any fines or complaints by riders, please ensure the seatbelts on the back seats are accessible and functional,” It further added, “if the belt is hidden under the seat cover, please remove the cover”. Meanwhile, the nation’s largest rival to Uber, Ola, which is backed by the Financial giant SoftBank Group, also just delivered a warning to drivers to obey seatbelt laws, a company representative also told Reuters.