Uber asks its India drivers to ensure rear seat belts in their cars work


NEW DELHI: Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has asked its drivers in India to ensure backseat seat belts in their vehicles are accessible to passengers and they work, days after business tycoon Cyrus Mistry died in a crash involving his private car.
The move comes amid a growing road-safety push in India, the world’s fourth-largest car market. Earlier in September, Mistry, the former chairman of India’s Tata Sonsdied in a crash involving his Mercedes, and according to media reports, he was not wearing a seat belt while seated at the back.
“To avoid any fines or complaints by riders, please ensure the seat belts on the back seats are accessible and functional,” Uber said in an advisory to its drivers on Tuesday which was seen by Reuters.
A source with direct knowledge also said Uber was conducting checks at airports to ensure its drivers were complying with seat belt norms.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Its Indian competitor An hourwhich is backed by SoftBank Group, also sent an advisory to drivers in recent weeks to enforce seat belt rules, a company representative told Reuters.
This comes at a time when the government is also trying to push through a series of measures to improve road safety in a country that has the world’s deadliest roads.
The World Bank said last year that India had a death on its roads every four minutes.
India already has rules mandating passengers in the back seat to wear seat belts but only a few comply. Enforcement is also poor despite the provision of a fine of Rs 1,000 rupees ($12.55) for non-compliance.
In most cases, car and taxi owners put seat covers on top of seat belts on their back seats, making them inaccessible for use.
Uber told drivers in its advisory to ensure backseat seat belts were installed, adding “if the belt is hidden under the seat cover, please remove the cover”.
India’s government has also said it wants car makers to install an alarm system for rear seat belts to enforce their use and mandate six airbags in all cars.





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