“Those In The Back Seat Feel They Don’t Need Seat Belts”: Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari said his ministry is in the process of trying to make six airbags mandatory for cars.

New Delhi:

With Cyrus Mistry’s death in a car crash raising questions about car and road safety, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said any effort to check road accidents would be fruitless without the cooperation of people.

Cyrus Mistry, 54, died after the car he was travelling in from Ahmedabad to Mumbai hit a road divider at high speed. The former Tata Sons chairman was in the backseat and not wearing a seat belt. The other passenger in the rear seat, Jehangir Pandole, was also killed.

“People think back-seaters are not supposed to wear seat belts. I don’t want to make any comment on any accident. But people at the back think only front-seaters should wear belt. Both front-seaters and back-seaters need to wear seat belts,” Nitin¬†Gadkari, the Road Transport Minister, said at IAA’s Global Summit.

Even Chief Ministers did not follow car safety rules, he said.

“Forget the common people. I travelled in the cars of four Chief Ministers, don’t ask me their names. I was in the front seat. If you don’t wear a belt there is an alarm. But the drivers had put a clip to stop the alarm. Here we need cooperation. If I see this in the cars of four Chief Ministers…I am trying to stop this practice,” Mr Gadkari said.

He also said his ministry is in the process of trying to make six airbags mandatory for cars.

On Indian manufacturers saying six airbags will push up the cost of even low-end cars and reduce sales, Mr Gadkari said: “They follow this abroad. Isn’t the life of the poor in India not worth anything?”

He said each airbag would cost only Rs 900 extra.

“I told the industry – people are dying. I myself had an accident. There are international standards regarding road safety – we will not compromise on them. Our highest priority is to save lives,” he said.

Mr Gadkari expressed grief over Cyrus Mistry’s accident.

“He was a good friend of mine and really, it is a big shock for the country. Our problem is that there are five lakh accidents every year and 1,50,000 deaths by road accidents,” he said, calling the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway a “very dangerous” one.

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