Mumbai: Transport chief did not know his car had a rear seatbelt

Updated: Feb 07, 2019, 11:11 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe admits to not knowing, until recently, rules that make wearing rear seatbelt mandatory; also discussed the helmet rules at workshop on road safety

Mumbai: Transport chief did not know his car had a rear seatbelt
The workshop was held in co-ordination with the NGO Radhee, officials of the Maharashtra Transport Department, highway police and the Public Works Department, at the Mumbai Press Club

Did you know your car might have a rear seat belt, and a passenger should mandatorily wear it? Maharashtra Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe admitted that he thought his official vehicle did not have a rear seat belt till recently, and he was himself unaware about a rule on wearing it, till he took charge of the post.

"My driver too was confused, but then he found it buried deep under the seats. I now use it every time I am in the rear seat. There is a need to be more aware about such little known but important rules," Channe told mid-day.

Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe wears a seat belt while on the rear seat
Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe wears a seat belt while on the rear seat

Channe attended a workshop on road safety in co-ordination with the NGO Radhee, officials of the Maharashtra Transport Department, highway police and the Public Works Department, at the Mumbai Press Club on Tuesday. They discussed waking up the dead helmet industry, incentives for those who don't break traffic rules for over five years, and the need to research data on accidents, as the key areas to focus on, to ensure road safety and bring down the accident count.

'Industries must innovate'
"The helmet industry in Maharashtra has grown immensely in the past 10 years but there is no creativity and innovation. No auto locks, no change in design, and no effort to make helmets rider friendly. Two-wheelers are designed with no space to keep the helmet and it becomes an inconvenience than an asset. The automobile and helmet industry need to innovate to encourage use of helmets," said Vijay Patil, superintendent of police (Highways).

Accurately reporting mishaps
Stressing the need for documenting accidents, Channe said there were 13,509 deaths in the state in 2018, but there is very little knowledge about how they took place. "How do accidents occur? How are they noted? It depends on the local constable or person who reports it first in the FIR, on the basis of what he thinks, and that gets documented as the cause of death. This needs to change and the Maharashtra Transport Department is developing a software to accurately report accidents," Channe said.

Speaking on incentives in insurance premium if there are no accidents for a long time or if one follows rules consistently, Channe said they could send a proposal to the Maharashtra government on this.

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