Strap in and drive!

Fasten your seat belts. That’s the mantra Bangalore Traffic Police intend to chant and drill into the motorists’ head.

SAFE Very few people care to wear the seat belt when driving.  DH photo by Janardhan B k   (for illustration purpose only)

It is compulsory to put on the seat belts while driving, and violation of the law attracts a fine of Rs 100. But the Bangalore Traffic Police have never really bothered to catch people for this particular offence.  Metrolife asks the Bangalore Traffic Police as to why they have not enforced this particular rule stringently till now and also tries to check if the drivers bother to wear  seat belts at all.

M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Safety) says this rule was never enforced in the City on a priority basis. “But now we have decided to make this rule compulsory and hence, we have started a drive to sensitise people about it. Most drivers don’t bother to wear the seat belt,” he complains.

 The Bangalore Traffic Police have been monitoring areas like the NICE Road, Outer Ring Road (ORR), elevated Hosur Road where people tend to zip without wearing the seat belt. “There have been a lot of accidents on this road because of non usage of seat belts,” he adds.

People in the automobile industry point out that when a car is delivered to the customer a list of safety measures are handed over to him or her and wearing the seat belt, when driving, tops the list. In fact, people from automobile companies say that high end cars have an indicator for the seat belt. It ticks on when the seat belt is not used and ticks off when used. Bitu Nair, assistant general manager in Mandovi Motors, thinks, “It’s important to wear the seat belt when driving. I can give an example where my wife and I would have been killed in a freak accident, had we not worn the seat belt. I always tell our customers and wear one myself whenever I drive,” says Bitu.

A few people, who drive, say that they make it a point to strap on the seat belt when they drive but some others wonder why wear a seat belt when one can’t zip within the City.  It looks like women drivers are more careful about wearing the seat belt when driving. Kavitha Singh, an entrepreneur, says that she always makes it a point to wear the seat belt.

  “It’s a safety guard and is essential when driving. I picked up the habit of wearing a seat belt in Delhi (where it is compulsory) and I have been following it after moving to Bangalore. People must know the dangers of driving without one,” she says. S
Balakrishnan, an IT professional, too began wearing a seat belt after he had a bitter experience abroad where he sat in the passenger’s seat without a seat belt and next thing he found himself in the hospital. “I see that a lot of people don’t wear it. You never know when danger will strike you,” he cautions. Ravi Gupta, a businessman, wonders why there is a need for a seat belt in a city where one can’t really drive above 40 to 50 km per hour. “Wearing a seat belt is more useful on a highway. I don’t think it’s needed in the City. A lot of people don’t pay heed to this issue. However, there is no harm in wearing it,” Ravi sums up.

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