A survey titled, ‘Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India’, has revealed a worrying picture as a majority of respondents were aware about safety features but were not necessarily using them.
A recent study conducted by research firm MDRA for Nissan India and SaveLIFE Foundation has revealed a worrying picture amongst Indian motorists for their blatant disregard for road safety despite being aware of the potential dangers. In fact, two thirds of the respondents of the survey titled, ‘Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India’, believed that Indian roads are unsafe for children. And yet the survey revealed that 90 per cent of the respondents confirmed that they do not use a rear seat-belt, thereby risking their safety. This was further confirmed through an observational survey, conducted at strategic locations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Kolkata, and Lucknow, revealing that 98 per cent respondents were in fact not using their rear-seat belt. The study further revealed 70.5 per cent of the respondents were aware about rear seatbelts in cars. And 75.7 per cent of parents surveyed were not aware about child restraint systems in cars.
And the story does not get better for motorcyclists as 92.8 per cent of the respondents reported being aware of the safety benefits of child helmets, but only 20.1 per cent respondents owned a child helmet.
Commenting on the National Study, Piyush Tewari, Founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation, noted, “This report documents, for the first time in India, the concerning state of child safety on our roads and the public’s perception and expectation regarding the usage of rear seat belts. High road crash fatality cannot be accepted as the norm. It is high time that basic provisions such as child helmets, safety measures in school zones, child seats, special training for school bus and van drivers, and adult accountability be made mandatory across the country. We look forward to the government’s help in enabling a change in mind-set at a national level."
The ‘Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India’ was released by Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari. And according to the latest data released by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 9,408 children lost their lives to road crashes in year 2017 alone. 72 per cent of 23,333 passengers lost their lives in 2017 while not wearing a seatbelt when road accidents occurred.
“While there have been various initiatives undertaken to raise awareness around road safety in India, the importance of wearing rear seat belts has been completely neglected. At Nissan, it is our vision to enrich people’s lives and through this initiative, we aim to raise awareness around the usage of rear seat belts. Our strategic partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation and SHARP will set a strong base to bring attention towards this important issue. The first phase of our campaign will focus on reaching out and educating over 200k children in 240 schools across 12 cities on usage of rear seat belts and road safety,” said, Thomas Kuehl, President, Nissan India Operations.
With its findings, the report builds a strong case the passage of a Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill to bridge the policy-implementation gap. The need for both, better policy awareness and implementation is evident in the report’s findings.