To wear or not to wear? This is what the law says about wearing a rear seat belt in India | Car News

Cyrus Mistry, a prominent business figure and former head of Tata Sons, recently died in a road accident on a high-speed car driven by another person. According to the preliminary investigation by Maharashtra Police, Mistry was sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes-Benz and was not wearing a seat belt. He and the other passenger died in the accident, while the front seat passengers wearing seat belts are safe and were taken to hospital with serious injuries. This unfortunate incident led to Indians talking about the safety of the rear passengers, and more than that, about the importance of wearing the rear seat belt.


Wearing a seat belt in the back seat is mandatory as per the Indian government’s central motor vehicle rules, but very few are aware of the rule. According to Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), persons “seating in the front seat or persons occupying the rear, forward-facing seats” must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion. Failure to do so can result in a traffic fine of Rs 1,000.

Lack of public awareness

Despite the law, only a few people in India wear a seat belt in the back seat and this is partly related to a lack of awareness. A road safety NGO, SaveLIFE Foundation, conducted a study in 11 cities with 6,306 participants. The study found that only 7% said they used rear seat belts, while only 27.7% of participants were aware that their use was mandatory.

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Not just public awareness, there is a lack of enforcement by police authorities across India. Many senior cops have stated in the past that a lack of police personality leads to a lack of enforcement because most cops are busy enforcing a lot of serious rules, including breaking a traffic light or not wearing a seat belt in the front seat among other things. Also, there is resistance from the public if they are punished.

The importance of a back seat belt

According to the World Health Organization, using rear seat belts can reduce the risk of death in the back seat by up to 25%. Not only that, but it can also prevent excessive injury or death to the front seat passenger because the back seat passengers will not fall on the front seat passengers. “More than 30% of fatal accidents investigated by SaveLIFE across various highways involved injuries to passengers due to not wearing rear seat belts,” said Piyush Tiwari, founder of SaveLIFE.

change standards

The Department of Road Transport and Highways previously proposed that all front seats in M1-class vehicles (vehicles used to carry passengers, having no more than eight seats) be fitted with three-point belts. Earlier, OEMs had the option of providing a three-point or two-point harness (the waist belt) in the rear seats. While all manufacturers offer a 3-ply seat belt in the rear window side seats, the center rear seat only gets a harness.

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With agency input