The death of former Tata Group Chairman, Cyrus Mistry and his friend Jehangir Pandole, in a car accident has once again highlighted the fact that not many people wear seat belts in the rear seat of cars in India.
According to a recent LocalCircles survey, around 70% of Indians do not wear seat belts in the back seat of a moving car. And, out of the remaining 30%, 26% stated they ‘usually wore the seatbelt in the back seat of a car’ while 4% claimed they rarely sat in the back seat. The findings of the study, which included 10,598 respondents from across the country, come a day after the death of the former Tata Group Chairman. These figures indicate how a majority of people in India do not find it important to wear rear seatbelts.
In this article, let’s take a look at why it is important to wear a rear seat belt, how not wearing one can impact your motor insurance claim, and more. Let’s begin by understanding if wearing a seatbelt is legally mandatory in India or not.
Is Wearing A Rear Seat Belt A Legal Requirement In India?
Yes, according to Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), wearing a rear seat belt is a legal requirement. And, passengers in the back who are not wearing seat belts may be fined Rs. 1000
If It’s Legally Mandatory, Why Don’t People Wear A Rear Seat Belt In India?
One of the main reasons is a lack of awareness. In India, it's not uncommon to see people riding in the second or third row of a car without seatbelts. In fact, the majority of people aren't even aware that wearing a seatbelt in the back seat has been mandated since October 2002.
Another reason is that many people don’t understand the importance of wearing a rear seat belt. The majority of people view a rear seat belt as a needless extra in cars and believe that not wearing it is not risky. What they don't realize is that riding unbelted in the back not only jeopardizes their lives but may also affect their insurance claim if an accident occurs.
How Does Not Wearing A Rear Seat Belt Impact Your Motor Insurance Claim?
There is no rule that forbids a person who is injured or killed in a car accident while not wearing a seat belt from receiving compensation.
However, experts say that if the claims go to court, the tribunal or court will consider all factors before granting compensation, including compliance with Central Motor Vehicles Rules requirements like wearing seat belts. If they discover that breaking the seat belt law played a part in the fatality or injury, they may pay lesser compensation for negligence and violation of rules.
Regardless of whether your insurance claim is affected or not, you should always wear a rear seat belt.
Why Is Wearing A Rear Seat Belt Important?
Here are 3 main reasons why you should wear a rear seat belt -
As discussed above, wearing a rear seat belt is legally required. If you don’t wear it, you may have to pay a fine of Rs. 1000.
In case of a collision, an unbuckled rear passenger is more likely to collide with the backrest of the front seat and get wounded. Wearing a rear seat belt reduces the chance of being killed or injured by 25% and 75%, respectively, according to a World Health Organization study.
- It impacts your insurance claim
As previously stated, the entire claim may not be denied. But, the compensation may be reduced if the non-usage of a rear seat belt is found to be the reason for accidental injury or death.
Now that you know why rear seat belts are important, remember to buckle them the next time you sit in the rear seat of a car. It will not only help you avoid a challan, but it will also keep you safe when you are traveling.