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Posted at: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM; last updated: Mar 10, 2018, 2:44 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

Fasten that seat belt

Fasten that seat belt

H. Kishie Singh

Pehni kya?

Have you fastened your seat belt? Do it as soon as you get into your car. Seat belts save lives in 50 per cent of crashes.

The three-point seat belt was developed by Volvo and has been the standard equipment on most cars since 1959. 

This is how it works. Newton’s first law of motion states that bodies in motion stay in motion. Riding in a car, you have the same velocity as your car. If your car stops suddenly and you are not wearing a seat belt, you continue to travel at the same speed and smash into the windscreen. This is referred to as secondary impact. However, if you wear a seat belt, you become a part of the car. When the car stops, you stop too.

The most important function of the seat belt is that it is a passive safety device. The minute you hear the seat belt fastener click, it is at work.

The air bags are an active safety device, but work only in case of a crash. They have been known to malfunction. They may go off accidently or may not open when required.

Note that SRS is printed on the cover which houses the air bags. It means ‘Supplementary Restraint System’. The air bag is not a standalone safety device. On the contrary, without the seat belt fastened, it can be dangerous, even fatal. As per the Road Accident Report 2016 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, around 1.5 lakh people perished in road accidents. In a pan-India research by Maruti Suzuki conducted by Millward Brown and IMRB, some startling facts have come up. 

n Only 25 per cent of car users wear seat belts.

n 30 per cent of co- drivers wear belts.

n 4 per cent of rear seat passengers use the belts!

n 27 per cent said they ruin your clothes!

n 23 per cent did not consider seat belts as a safety device!

n 68 per cent of male drivers do not wear seat belts. 

n 81 per cent of female drivers do not wear seat belts.

But how to enforce this common sense rule? To drive home this point, hit them where it hurts most! The pocket! Start with heavy fines. 

Insurance companies should not entertain claims if seat belts were not fastened. Car manufacturers should have weight sensors on each seat. If the weight sensor reads ‘seat occupied’ but seat belt is not fastened, car shouldn’t start.

Think one step ahead of the devious and fertile Indian mind. The Indian passenger will fasten his seat belt, the car will move and he will undo the seat belt! The car will stall!

Fasten the seat belt again! The car still won’t start. The driver will have to call Road Side Assistance. The engineer will come and reset the weight sensor- seat belt connection.

Sitting stalled by the road side in the month of June, with a car full of people, the driver will have plenty of time about to think about the foolish act and the usefulness of seat belts, the best life-saving device ever invented! Pehni kya?

Happy Motoring!


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