Compulsory car seat-belts for all regime from Nov 1, but Mumbai not ‘fully ready’

From November 1, the Mumbai Traffic Police will implement the rule making it compulsory for all drivers and passengers of motor vehicles to wear seat-belts, officials said, even as a top automobile expert feels the city is still “not fully prepared” for it.

The order was issued on October 14 following the amendment to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act’s Section 194(b)(1), which has mandated that any person driving without a seat belt or carries passengers not wearing the same shall be liable for punishment.

The Mumbai Traffic Police had given time to all vehicle owners who do not have seat-belt facility for all to install them by the deadline of October 31.

From Tuesday, all motor vehicle drivers and commuters in such vehicles on Mumbai roads must compulsorily wear the seatbelts or face punitive action under the laws.

“The Mumbai Traffic Police shall deploy special teams at vantage points to check the compliance to the rule, make random checks of vehicles on the two highways and other roads, at key signals or junctions to ensure all follow the new safety rule,” said a department official.

Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) Chairman Emeritus and ex-Member of Parliament, Y.P. Trivedi lauded the move as “very positive from the safety aspect” but feels enough time was not given to the vehicle-owners to implement it.

“There should have been a proper awareness and education drive before implementing this decision. Mumbai is not fully ready for this regime and it will create problems and spur shady activities on the roads from tomorrow,” Trivedi, who is former President of All India Automobile Association, told IANS.

He suggested that the police and transport authorities should adopt a lenient attitude with the offenders at least till December 31, and thereafter clamp down as per laws on the violators as many of the old vehicles still don’t have seat-belts in the rear seats.

The implementation comes nearly two months after the death of eminent industrialist Cyrus P. Mistry in a road accident on September 4 ostensibly in a speeding vehicle while travelling from Gujarat to Mumbai, when he was not wearing a seat-belt.

Prior to that, on August 14, prominent Maharashtra politician Vinayak Mete had been killed in a road accident on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway near Raigad, en route to Mumbai.

Earlier, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued the Draft Rules making it incumbent upon all car manufacturers to install seat-belt alarms for all seats in the cars.

Last month, Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari had declared that henceforth wearing seat-belts would be mandatory for all passengers in a car failing which penalty would be imposed.

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