Reinforcing An Old Rule Stringently, Patna Traffic Police Makes Seat Belts Mandatory For Drivers And Front Seat Passengers
- Seat belts for drivers and front seat passengers made mandatory in Patna
- Bihar saw over 35,000 deaths in six years between 2010-2016
- Licenses could be revoked for those who do not wear seat belts
New Delhi: The AB Cricket Club of Patna, known throughout the city for its popular weekend cricket coaching classes had to cut short their operation in 2016, when their head coach Ratanlal Mishra died in a road accident. Not wearing a seat belt, a habit common among several Indians, resulted in the untimely demise of Mr Mishra and continues to do so for several other Indians. Mr Mishra is one of the 35,000 people who die*3 in road accidents in Bihar between 2010 and 2016. With an average of 5,931 deaths per year, Bihar ranks as one of the worst performers in terms of road safety. In a desperate bid to lessen the number of fatalities across the state capital Patna, the city’s traffic police has made it mandatory to fasten seat belts in four-wheelers, starting April 12.
Concerned over the rising number of road accident deaths, the state department of transport asked the traffic department and its officials to ensure that seat belts are worn by drivers of four wheelers, as well as their co-passenger. Beginning April 1, the rule will be initially implemented on Bailey road and Dak Bungalow road, two of the most accident prone zones in the city. The rule will be spread out across the city within the next two months, said an official from the state transport department.
Over 50 per cent of the accidents that take place on the state’s roads are due to people not adhering to the traffic rules, not wearing seat belts being one of them. A seat belt is a very basic safety measure and reduces the risk of a fatality during an accident. It comes along with four-wheelers and hence there is no additional investment required. We are hopeful that this will bring down the number of accidents in the city and subsequently, in the state, said Priyaranjan Sinha, In-charge, Road Safety Cell, Bihar State Transport Corporation.
Not wearing seat belts is already an existing crime all over India under section 138(3) of Motor Vehicles Act, but rarely is it considered so. Not only drivers, but front passengers are required to wear seat belts as well. The Patna Traffic Police will levy a fine of Rs 100 for the first offence and Rs 300 for the second and subsequent offences. Those who repeat their offence more than thrice will have their licenses suspended.
We will enforce this rule very strictly and offenders will not be spared. Mandatory wearing of seat belts is solely for the safety of the driver and co-passenger, more than it is for the pedestrians. Hence, we are doing large scale promotion, as though this rule is not new, people are unaware of both how safe it is for them and how not following it could lead to loss of licenses, said Rameshwar Sharma, Senior Inspector, Patna Traffic Police.
The high road accident rates in Patna have prompted the city’s traffic department to take some other stringent measures. Encroachments and hoardings from the city’s roads will be removed starting from April first week. The city traffic police have also arranged for multiple rallies to be taken out from April 1 to 23, the weeks leading up to the Road Safety Week celebrations.