Seat belt survey across 4 cities of Maharashtra reveals poor seat belt compliance

Seat belts are one of the basics of car safety. It is a legal requirement for the driver and all passengers to wear a seat belt in India as per Motor Vehicles (Amendment), Act 2019. However, considerable misunderstanding prevails among the vehicle users that not all passengers but only drivers are legally required to wear a seat belt. This is largely due to lack of enforcement on the ground. 

A recent survey by Parisar in Maharashtra about use of  seatbelts among all occupants of the vehicle reported startling results. It revealed that almost 43% wore seat belts while 47% did not wear seat belts while driving vehicles. It is interesting to note that survey findings across 4 major cities and among vehicle occupants (driver, co-passenger, and rear passengers) varies dramatically. While Pune does well in terms of seat belt compliance (76%), other 3 cities have shown pathetic results, Kolhapur has compliance rate 28%.

Seat belt compliance shown among drivers is about 67% and co-passenger is 16%. What is surprising is the compliance rate among rear passengers which is merely 1% which needs serious attention, requiring a robust enforcement strategy.

Among surveyed vehicles, 85% were private and 15% were commercial vehicles. Seat belt use among private vehicles is almost 63% whereas in commercial vehicles it is found to be only 9%. Interestingly, not a single driver in commercial vehicles wore a seat belt in Kolhapur.   

As per MoRTH statistics, 89,069 vehicle users died due to not wearing seat belts in the last 5 years. Maharashtra ranked 2nd in road accident fatalities in the country in 2021. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates wearing a seat belt reduces risk of fatalities by 40-65% among front seat passengers and 25-75% among rear seat occupants. (Click here to access Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP)'s seat belts fact check.)

Parisar has written a letter to Supreme Court Committee on road Safety, Transport Department DGP office Maharashtra, City Commissioner Police, RTOs and District Road Safety Committees to enforce the law rigorously and improve the seat belt compliance.

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