Delhi Traffic Police on September 14 launched a drive to intensify road safety awareness in the national capital. As a step to push people to wear rear seat belts, Delhi traffic police issued a challan to a total of 17 people with a penalty of Rs 1,000. On the first day of the special drive, the traffic police conducted checks on Barakhamba Road near Connaught Place in central Delhi to ensure compliance. The drive comes after former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry (54) died in a road accident in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on September 4. According to police, Mistry, who was sitting in the rear, was not wearing a seatbelt.
“A total of 17 court challans were issued during the drive from 11 am to 1 pm under Section 194B (use of safety belts and the seating of children) of the Motor Vehicles Act,” a senior police officer said. The offenders were fined Rs 1,000 each, the police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi Traffic) Aalap Patel said, “The legal provisions were already there but it has become a topic of discussion after the recent incident (Mistry’s death).”
“The Delhi Traffic Police is already running a campaign to spread public awareness regarding (the importance of) wearing seat belts. We are also taking legal action,” the officer said. Last week, the Delhi Police took to Twitter to urge citizens, not to over-speed and always wear seat belts.
According to official data, more than 1,900 people died in Delhi last year in road accidents involving negligence on the part of drivers or passengers of vehicles. The Delhi Traffic Police issued over 1.2 crore notices last year to offenders for not wearing seat belts, improper parking, jumping red lights, and speeding.
S Velmurugan, chief scientist, Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), appreciated the traffic police’s special drive. “This is an excellent move by the Delhi Traffic Police. The Motor Vehicles Act, 2014 mandates that people sitting in the rear seat have to wear seat belts. This enforcement can lead to a reduction in fatalities by 10 percent. Usually, people tend to speed during the lean traffic hours, which leads to crashes,” Velmurugan said.
However, Atul Goyal, president of United Residents Joint Action Of Delhi, said mandating rear seat belts may not be a feasible move. “Pushing for safety norms is a good step but Indian families are bigger. Generally, more than two people sit in the back seat. Either there should be a provision for a third seat belt in cars or mandating it would not be feasible. So the government should come up with an alternative. Provide alternatives before making rules,” he said.
Separately, the Delhi Traffic Police also launched a drive to check vehicles with tinted windows. “Starting today, #DelhiTrafficPolice shall be penalizing those who have tinted glass/glass films beyond permissible limits. Also, we will keep a check on minors indulging in driving without a license and penalize the vehicle owners,” the police said in a tweet.
A police officer said, “We urged people to follow the traffic rules and cooperate with the traffic personnel. The commuters are also being sensitized about the traffic rules and their safety.”
(With inputs from PTI)