Indian roads have a reputation for being unpredictable, unsafe and count as one of the most dangerous in the world, with countless fatalities every year. A logical response to such a scenario will be careful driving with a lot of emphasis on safety but a survey from Maruti Suzuki in association with Kantar Group (Milward Brown & IMRB) reveals otherwise. The 17-city survey has revealed that only 25 per cent of occupants travelling in cars wear seat belts.
The current three-point seat belts widely available in cars, which was first included by Volvo, have not been able to fulfil their purpose as the occupants count appearance over safety. In 2016 alone, a startling 5,638 lives were claimed as a result of not wearing seat belts in India (Source: Road Accident Report 2016, MoRTH). Here are the major reasons for this apathetic attitude as revealed by the survey:
No Strict Policing
India is low on police enforcement as it is and it is a tough job to police the non-buckling car drivers. Then, according to a clause in Chapter VI of The Central Motor Vehicles Act 1989, a fine of one thousand rupees can be levied on a driver not wearing seat belts or carrying passengers not wearing seat belts in his motor vehicle, which hardly proves a deterrent these days. 32 per cent of the respondents cited weak legal enforcement as the main reason behind not wearing seat belts.
At least 23 per cent of the respondents in the survey said that wearing a seat belt makes them look like an under confident/ novice driver. Even those who wear the belts do it out of fear of getting caught rather than for their own well-being.
22 per cent of drivers didn’t wear the seat belt as it might ruin the creases on their clothes.
Leaving All To The Airbags
Airbags do not guarantee complete safety as they might not even deploy on mild impacts, leaving you with multiple concussions and injuries to deal with even in a minor mishap. Then seat belts are a primary restraint system and work as a first line of defence. Both the seat belts and airbags work in tandem to keep the occupants safe, contrary to the beliefs of 19 per cent of respondents who thought that seat belts are not a significant safety device. Related: Road Safety in India is Worst, says WHO
Influence From Peers
Most drivers derive their driving habits from their closest ones and subconsciously try to imitate their peer groups. 18 per cent of surveyees said that they picked up their habits from their family and peers, which means better education regarding safety could have made much safer drivers.