Cyrus Mistry: India insists on seat belts after tycoon’s death in car crash

Image credit: BBC

A discussion about road safety and stronger law enforcement has been spurred by the death of Indian millionaire Cyrus Mistry in an automobile accident.

Nitin Gadkari, the federal transport minister, declared on Tuesday that non-seatbelt users in the backseats of vehicles would soon face fines. Additionally, the government plans to mandate that alarms be included in back seat belts by automakers.

Because of the Cyrus disaster, we have decided that an alarm will sound until passengers in the back seat fasten their seatbelts, Mr Gadkari stated on Tuesday.

Mistry, 54, passed away on Sunday after his car collided with a highway divider while travelling from Gujarat to Mumbai.

Police officials were quoted in local media as saying that Mistry and a fellow passenger in the back seat, who also perished, were not wearing seat belts.

All car occupants in India are required by law to wear seat belts. However, this is rarely enforced for those sitting in the back seats.

Every year, thousands of people die in road accidents in India; according to government statistics, the death toll in 2021 will exceed 150,000, or an average of 18 per hour.

Despite the worrying statistics, there has rarely been a national discussion on auto and road safety. However, following Mistry’s passing, hundreds of social media users shared a three-second video simulation showing the potential effects of an accident on a back seat passenger who is not wearing a seatbelt.

By the advice of additional experts, the government should make sure that signboards and designs on roadways are uniform nationwide. India has always struggled with the issue of vehicle and road safety.

The government had previously been considering making six airbags standard in all vehicles, but India’s largest automaker objected, claiming that doing so would increase prices and damage the small car sector. However, after Mistry’s passing, Mr Gadkari made comments that seemed to indicate the plan would be put into action soon.

Millions of Indians, who are used to crowded vehicles that allow more people to ride together at once, will need to adjust their thinking for the suggested changes to be enacted.

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