The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation plans to make seat belts available for bus commuters. The move is aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries from accidents.
Proposed by transport minister Diwakar Raote, the idea was put forward after two bus accidents, the Mumbai-Pune express highway accident, in which 17 were killed and the truck-jeep accident in Dhule, in which 18 people died. He said that after visiting the site of the accident at Panvel, he felt the need to implement seat belts.
In a meeting last month, the state-owned transport undertaking decided to move the proposal.
According to the proposal, accessed by HT, the transport body is exploring the possibility of displaying advertisements on the seat belts, to help pay for them.
The proposal states that injuries can be avoided by making seat belts available for every seat. Currently only three seats — the driver’s seat and the two passenger seats behind it — have seat belts.
“The number of fatalities in the expressway bus accident would have been less, if all the passengers had seat belts. In the absence of seat belts, they were hurled away from their seats,” said Raote. He added that buses plying long routes like Mumbai-Kolhapur would receive seatbelts first.
RTO sources welcomed the move, stating that though seat belts are mandatory in many countries, this is not so in India.
With a fleet of more than 18,000 buses, the MSRTC is the biggest state transport undertaking in the country, with more than 60 lakh passengers daily. With 3,172 accidents in 2014-15, it had the highest number of accidents among all state transport undertakings.