Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Safety belt must for back seat passengers on E-way


PUNE: The highway police have started enforcing the seat belt rule on the Pune-Mumbai expressway for not just drivers and front seat passengers of cars and other vehicles, but also for those occupying the rear seats.

The plan to enforce the rule was initiated by additional director general of police (traffic) Rashmi Shukla around a month ago. For two weeks, the special police teams formed for the purpose requested drivers and passengers of cars, trucks and buses to wear their seat belts. For the last two weeks, however, the teams have been fining at least 50 car drivers/ passengers every day. The fine is Rs 200 per offender.

Superintendent of police Amol Tambe of the Highway Safety Patrol (HSP) said, “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 seat belts.”

However, the rule cannot be implemented in full. Tambe pointed out that in the case of five-seater cars which have only two seat belts in the rear, the person sitting in the middle obviously cannot buckle up. Also, people travelling in cars manufactured till the mid-90s are similarly exempt from the rule as their vehicles did not have seat belts then.

“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,” Tambe said.

A study of accidents by the Regional Transport Office officials and experts from the central government reveals that many fatalities involving back seat car passengers not wearing seat belts are because they are flung towards the front windscreen on impact. Sometimes, these passengers hit the front seat with great force, in turn pushing the front seat driver and passenger towards the dashboard. Tamble said that under the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, the onus of getting passengers to wear their seat belts lies with the car driver, especially in tourist vehicles.


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