Former Tata Sons CEO Cyrus Mistry was killed in a horrific and unfortunate road accident on Sunday (4 September) after the car he was traveling in crashed into a barrier. He was driving a Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV that was seated by a doctor in the Balghar district of Maharashtra, as the vehicle carrying 4 passengers including Mistry, 54, was on its way from Ahmedabad to Mumbai. According to a preliminary police investigation, Cyrus Mistry and Jahangir Bandol were sitting in the back seat of the car and were not wearing seat belts. Police said excessive speed and a “miscalculation” by the driver caused the accident. Both Mistry and Jahangir died in the accident, while both occupants of the car, who were wearing seat belts, survived the accident.
Why is a back seat belt important?
Passengers in the rear seats have no way to hold them in the event of an accident if the seat belt is not fastened. A rear passenger who is not wearing seat belts, in the event of an accident, is at risk of hitting the backrest of the front seat. This can lead to a neck injury, often affecting the vertebrae and in many cases cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain. In many cases, a rear passenger without belts can hit the front seat, forcing the front passenger onto the dashboard or deploying an airbag, posing a fatal hazard. It has been observed that in a few cases, rear passengers can fly out of the windshield or hit the dashboard or steering wheel.
A video made by the highly reputable Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed the impact on back seat passengers in the event of an accident. According to the institute, around the world 90 percent of people do not wear a seat belt, especially when traveling by taxi or ride-sharing. Here’s a video that highlights the importance of seat belts in the back seat.
How safe are back seat passengers?
Jessica Germakian, senior research engineer at IIHS, states that for most adults, riding in the back seat is safer than it is in the front, if only they are strapped. While people know the importance of wearing a seat belt in the front seat, there is still a denial of strapping in the back. In the Indian context, a lack of awareness and enforcement results in people not wearing a seat belt in the back.
In the event of an accident, the rear passenger without the seat belt may be pushed forward with too much force and could also cause injury or death to the front passenger. This phenomenon is clearly demonstrated by the crash test dummies in the video. If a seat belt is not worn, the passenger will be at risk of hitting hard surfaces, and even being thrown out of a speeding vehicle if the tailgate opens resulting in unfortunate life injuries.
*Note- We advise our readers to understand the importance of wearing seat belts in the back seat.