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Fine for Not Wearing Seat Belt on Rear Seat, Says Gadkari; Rues Cyrus Mistry’s Death that ‘Taught New Lesson’

By: Marya Shakil

CNN-News18

Last Updated: September 07, 2022, 08:53 IST

Delhi, India

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the Centre was planning to make it mandatory for automakers to introduce a belt alarm for rear seats. (Image: AFP/File)

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the Centre was planning to make it mandatory for automakers to introduce a belt alarm for rear seats. (Image: AFP/File)

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said Cyrus Mistry's tragic death was a new lesson and road safety was the highest agenda of the country now

Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said road safety was the “highest agenda" for the country as he answered questions surrounding the tragic death of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry in a car accident near Mumbai. The minister said Mistry was a “close friend" and the incident was a new lesson in how road safety was viewed in a country, where belt regulations in the rear seat were not being followed as per the law.

“It will be too early to make any comments on the reason of the accident. But, his accident is unfortunate. Cyrus Mistry was a close friend of mine… Will find out the reason and rectify the things, but presently we don’t have any reports. One thing is very important, road safety is highest agenda for the country and this incident is teaching us a new lesson," Gadkari told CNN-News18.

Gadkari said a law already existed mandating the wearing of seat belt in the back, but a fine of Rs 1,000 will be introduced so as to enforce the rule in a more stringent manner. He added that the central government was planning to make it mandatory for automakers to introduce a seat belt alarm system for rear seats as well.

“Actually, there is already a law for people sitting in the backseat. It is mandatory to wear the seat belt. If those at the front don’t wear the seat belt, an alarm goes off. Now, we are making a law by which the manufacturer will do that for the rear seat as well. If we find people not wearing the belt in the back, they will be fined Rs 1,000. But, our intention is not to penalise people but raise awareness that the law has to be respected and feared so as to save lives, Gadkari said, adding that before the end of 2024, reducing 50 per cent accidents and 50 per cent fatalities on the road was difficult but not impossible.

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Gadkari further said the government was also talking to auto makers to provide six airbags inside cars. “We are already having discussions with auto makers that cars should have six airbags and am confident that the automobile industry will cooperate. The cost of one airbag is Rs 1,000, for six it will be Rs 6,000, but the cost is not important. We have to save lives and that is most important,” he added.

Although not wearing a seat belt by passengers sitting in the rear already attracts a fine of Rs 1,000 under Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), most people are either unaware of this mandatory rule or just ignore them. According to a recent road ministry report, the number of persons killed and injured due to not wearing a seat belt during 2020 stood at 15,146 and 39,102, respectively.

Cyrus Mistry and his friend Jahangir Pandole were killed on Sunday afternoon when their car hit a road divider in Palghar district’s Charoti. Two other car occupants, Anahita Pandole, who was at the wheel, and her husband Darius Pandole suffered injuries and are admitted to a private hospital in Mumbai. The accident took place on the Surya river bridge when the four were on their way to Mumbai from Gujarat.

Mistry and Jahangir were sitting in the back and not wearing seat belts as per a preliminary probe, a police official said, adding that over-speeding and an “error of judgement" by the driver caused the accident. The luxury car was speeding when the accident took place, police said.

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first published:September 06, 2022, 22:04 IST
last updated:September 07, 2022, 08:53 IST