A drive on the safe path

A drive on the safe path

Avoiding Danger

It’s been over a month since the seat belt rule has been enforced for four-wheeler users in the City.

When this rule was first made mandatory, a lot of people wondered why a seat belt was needed in a City where the traffic virtually doesn’t move in several areas. But the police pointed out that it was a safety measure that needs to be followed.

The Bangalore Traffic Police, which ran a seat belt campaign for a month in the City, claim that they have registered enough cases to instill a sense of fear among the people.

Metrolife spoke to the Bangalore Traffic Police and the people in general to find out if the rule is being followed or flouted.

The campaign launched by the traffic police dwelt on the importance and benefits of wearing the seat belt. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Safety) M A Saleem concedes that it was an effort to educate people rather than pin them down.

“We’ve found that more than 70 per cent of the people make a conscious effort to wear the seat belt when driving. We’ve also booked cases against those who have been caught for not wearing it. There’s acceptability among the people and we are sure that by the end of the month, we will have 100 percent compliance from people,” explains Saleem.

“We spoke to people about how speeding and hitting on an unnecessary hump could cause serious head injuries. The importance of wearing a seat belt was clearly spelt out to them,” he adds.

Dr Gururaj from the department of epidemiology at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has conducted several studies, which prove that less than 20 per cent of people in the City don’t wear the seat belt.

 “A seat belt is a protective gear and people don’t think it is necessary to wear it until something serious happens. This extra protective gear could prevent injuries, depending on the impact of the crash,” Gururaj observes.

He points out that wearing a seat belt could prevent chest, abdominal and grave head injuries. “The extent of injuries is 10 per cent or more on highways and between six and 10 per cent on the City roads. We notice that accident victims in the City come with polytrauma (injuries to multiple parts of body),” he adds.

A few road users wonder why there is a need for a seat belt when traffic in most parts of the City moves at a snail’s pace. Others who have taken the rule seriously feel driving without a seat belt is like riding without a helmet.

Amrutha, a professional, feels that seat belts should not be made compulsory when you can’t drive beyond a certain speed limit within the City. “We can’t accelerate beyond 40 km in the City limits. If you are on a highway or on the Outer Ring Road, then it makes sense to wear the seat belt. It should not be made compulsory.”

But there are a few others like Deepak, an employee with Strategic Outsourcing Services, who thinks the rule should have come into effect much earlier. “It’s important to wear the seat belt while driving slowly. Cops should be strict and fine people who don’t wear it.”

Deepesh, a banker, follows the rules no matter where he goes. “I fasten my seat belt the moment I get into my car. I have never felt uncomfortable to drive while wearing the seat belt. In fact, wearing the seat belt can avoid injuries, especially head injuries to a certain extent,” he sums up.