Don't let safety take a backseat on the road

Updated: Feb 09, 2019, 09:37 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The Commissioner said that he uses the seatbelt now when he sits in the rear seat

Don't let safety take a backseat on the road

In a report in this paper, Maharashtra Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe admitted that he thought his official vehicle did not have a rear seat belt till recently, and he was unaware about a rule on wearing it, till he took charge of the post.

The Commissioner said that he uses the seatbelt now when he sits in the rear seat. He also stated there needs to be more awareness.
Rear-seat passengers hardly ever wear seatbelts. People have to be aware that they are not immune to injuries from accidents just because they are sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle.

Now that some awareness and action has seeped in with reference to seat belts for front-seat passengers and the driver, our next logical step has to be to ensure rear-seat passengers strap up for safety.

For that to happen though, every vehicle has to be equipped with rear seat belts, especially taxis. Authorities now have to chart out how this will be done. An elaborate, well-thought-out, consistent plan, has to be put in place. Implementation should follow. The next step should be spreading awareness and, finally, strict action, just like there is for drivers and front-seat passengers who don't wear seatbelts.

We have to keep reinforcing existing rules to make our commute safer. Pillion riders also need to wear helmets. That may seem Utopian or laughable when one considers that bike riders are still not using helmets themselves. Yet, the cops and the people too have to ensure this is done and move to the next logical level - helmets for pillion riders.

The automobile industry, helmet makers have a stake in these rules. Road safety is a collective effort; it is not just the onus of the traffic cop. In the end, we have to believe the rules may be theirs (the cops), but the safety is ours (people).

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