Police on October 14 issued an order through a press note informing the general public that they will fine motorists who do not wear seatbelts from November 1. This means passengers in the rear seats of cars will also have to wear them.
Is there a new law in place or is an existing law being implemented?
An existing law is being strictly implemented from Tuesday.
What does the existing law say on wearing seatbelts?
Action for not wearing seatbelts is mentioned under section 194 B (1) of the Motor Vehicles (Amended) Act 2019. “Whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt or carries passengers not wearing seatbelts shall be punishable with a fine of Rs 1,000, provided that the state government may by notification in the official gazette exclude the application of this subsection to transport vehicles to carry standing passengers or other specified classes of transport vehicles,” reads the section.
Does that mean car passengers without seatbelts will be fined Rs 1,000?
No. “As per the Maharashtra government notification on the MV Act, a fine of Rs 200 will be imposed for all passengers of a car who are not wearing a seat belt,” said a police official. Instructions were given Monday to all Mumbai traffic police divisions to impose a fine of Rs 200 on motorists for not wearing seatbelts.
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What prompted police to strictly implement an existing law?
The death of Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of Tata Sons, in a road accident in Palghar on September 4 put the focus back on the importance of wearing seatbelts. Mistry was seated in the rear seat with Jehangir Pandole, director at KPMG Global Strategy Group. Neither was wearing a seatbelt and both died in the accident.
What is the exact order issued by Mumbai traffic police on October 14?
The order issued by Rajvardhan Sinha, joint commissioner of police (traffic) Mumbai, reads, “As per the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019, under section 194(b) (1), whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt or carries passengers not wearing seat belts shall be punishable. Accordingly, to install seatbelt facility in motor vehicles which do not have seat belt facility for all commuters, the period is being given till date 01/11/2022. Therefore, all motor vehicle drivers and all commuters in vehicles, whoever travels on the roads of Mumbai city, are hereby informed that it will be mandatory for drivers and all passengers to wear seatbelts while traveling from 01/11/2022. Otherwise, action will be taken under Section 194(B)(1) of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019.”
Is such action being taken elsewhere in Maharashtra?
Even though no such order has been issued in Maharashtra outside Mumbai, the highway traffic police do punish rear-seat passengers who do not wear the belts.
Are there any new laws being planned for rear seatbelts?
Yes. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said last month that seat belt alarms for those on rear seats will now be a permanent feature in all four-wheelers. A draft notification is issued proposing to make this a mandatory feature in all cars manufactured after the new directive is notified. “Because of the Cyrus incident, we have taken the decision that all cars will have to have the alarm for seat belts, even the rear ones. The order will be issued in the next few days,” Gadkari told reporters. Car manufacturers will be given a lead time by which they will have to get their affairs in order for compliance in future cars.
The government, Gadkari said, is aiming to make it mandatory for eight-seater cars to have at least six airbags in cars manufactured after October 1. A draft notification in this regard was already issued in January. Airbags are more effective if passengers fasten their seatbelts.