More than 5,000 people lose their lives on Indian roads owing to not using seat belts; this is a way to bring a change
The Indian automotive industry is experiencing a fast growth and this growth brings a hike in another factor related to the industry: deaths due to accidents. Statistics report 55 deaths on the Indian roads in an HOUR! And to highlight the gravity of the issue, it means 1,320 people lose their lives every day because of road accidents.
The more unfortunate fact is that most of these lives are lost because of reasons like carelessness, not following the rules and a very weak sense of self-protection. In India, more than 5,000 deaths are caused because of not following seat belt rules.
Maruti’s Executive Director of R&D, C V Raman, wrote an article that poses a question over such low sense of self-protection among Indians. In his article he writes:
“Car companies are investing in extensive research, testing, and evaluation to ensure these cars meet advanced safety norms. In Maruti Suzuki, for example, we crash test 35-40 cars of each model at our advanced R&D Centre in Rohtak (Haryana) before we can be satisfied that it meets the forthcoming safety norms.
All this effort and investment is being made to minimize injury and fatalities in road accidents. Nearly 1.5 lakh people die on Indian roads each year. Disturbed by this, Mr Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping has taken the challenge of bringing this to half by 2020. As automobile engineers, it gives us great satisfaction to be contributing our efforts to a national goal.
However, all these efforts may be nullified if we do not acquire a basic habit: putting on the seat belt while traveling in an automobile. Strange as it may seem, the more advanced the safety features in a car, the more critical is the role of the humble seat belt. For example, in a vehicle with airbags, if the passengers are not wearing the seat belt at the time of a crash, an airbag could end up causing harm to the passengers.”
We could conclude from this that all the laws and legislation the government has put in place will go in vain. The statistics are so astonishing on the results of wearing seat belts. According to WHO, wearing a seat belt could bring down the risk of death among driver and front seat passengers by 45-50%. Bring down the chances of grave injuries to 45%. And among the back seat passenger, wearing a seat belt would reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries by 25%.
These statistics have encouraged countries to put in place strict and comprehensive seat belt laws. “India’s record with regard to seat belts is dismal and shocking. In most parts of the country, vehicle users are not even expected to wear a seat-belt. There is practically no enforcement of this rule. Even where enforcement is stringent, it is confined to the passengers in the front seats. For some strange reason, rear seat passengers are not expected to wear the seat belts provided for them.
One cannot be forced to think and act for their safety, it needs to come actively and instinctively for the sake of ourselves and others. One must make use of seat-belts each time they are in a vehicle. We must strongly avoid the use of phones when behind the wheel. We must follow the traffic rules ourselves and inculcate those habits in our next generation.
Stay safe on the roads people!