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Image over safety: Seven out 10 drivers don’t wear seat belts in Delhi-NCR

These revelations, and more were made in a survey conducted by Maruti Suzuki India across 17 cities, covering over 2,500 drivers and passengers.

delhi Updated: Dec 07, 2017 00:09 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,safety
In Delhi-NCR, 40% of the sample size said they wear seat belts “sometimes”, whereas, 30% accepted of never putting on the safety latch.

Seven out of 10 people in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) do not wear seat belts while travelling in a car, “Seatbelt Use in India” survey revealed.

In further proof, that one’s image matters more being cautious on the road in Delhi, 26% drivers who were interviewed in Delhi-NCR said they choose to not wear seat belts because it affects their image. Another 21% said they do not do so as it ruins their clothes. An alarming 22% drivers in NCR said they do not consider seat belts a safety device.

These revelations, and more were made in a survey conducted by Maruti Suzuki India across 17 cities, covering over 2,500 drivers and passengers.

The findings assume significance as data with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) state that around 1.5 lakh people have lost their lives in road accidents in India with 5,638 fatalities occurring in 2016 alone.

In Delhi-NCR, 40% of the sample size said they wear seat belts “sometimes”, whereas, 30% accepted of never putting on the safety latch.

At a pan-India level, the survey found that 81% women drivers avoid wearing seat belts more than men (68%), primarily because they care more about their appearance than safety. Weak legal enforcement also played a role in keeping 33% people from following the rule.

Even as the MORTH has ruled that airbags will be compulsory in all vehicles from July 2019, road safety experts felt the rule won’t help if seat belts are ignored by passengers.

“There is no use of airbags if no one in the car has fastened the seat belt. The flyovers and highways have made travel faster, which only increases the risk. The law is very clear—front or back seat—everyone in a vehicle must wear a seat belt. But, it is hardly checked,” president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education Rohit Baluja said.

The national average for wearing seat belt in the back seat is 4%; Delhi-NCR car users fair only marginally better with their average of 6%.

Researchers involved in the study attributed this to better awareness in the NCR owing to larger presence of expats and diplomats. They said that the freak accident in which former Union minister Gopinath Munde lost his life for not strapping on the rear seat belt was also a turnaround.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatality among drivers and front seat passengers by 45-50%; the risk of serious injuries comes down by 45%. Among passengers in the back, seat belts reduce fatal and serious injuries by 25%.

The traffic police officials said they do challan those who are not wearing seat belts, but also accepted that the focus mostly remains on the driver and the front passenger. “In most cases, those sitting in the rear are families. Most of those we have caught say that they are unaware of the rule for rear passengers,” a traffic police official said.

In the North zone, Chandigarh was found to have the best seat belt-usage rate of 76% followed by Jaipur at 75 %, Delhi at 30% and Meerut at 28%.

(ENDS)

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 00:09 IST