People in the South, women do not fasten seat belts, finds Maruti Suzuki survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Buckle up The study said awareness, motivation and stringent law enforcement can help increase usage   -  KK Mustafah

Region ranks first in non-usage among drivers, co-drivers and rear passengers

A pan-India research conducted by Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) has found that seat-belt usage in the country is as low as 25 per cent, and zone-wise data showed that overall South India — Chennai included — ranks number one in non-usage of seat belt among drivers, co-drivers and rear passengers.

The survey, conducted along with Kantar Millward Brown and Kantar IMRB, also highlighted that the rate of non-usgae of seat belt among female drivers was highest at 81 per cent, compared with 68 per cent for male drivers.

The study was conducted in 17 cities across all zones (North, East, South and West) with a mix of metros and tier I and II cities. The sample size of the survey was 2,505 respondents — 1,122 drivers, 946 co-drivers and 437 rear passengers.

Among drivers, the rate of non-usage of seat belt was 89 per cent in South, followed by East (79 per cent), West (78 per cent) and North (42 per cent). The 17 cities included Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Delhi-NCR, Guwahati, Indore, Jaipur, Meerut, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Surat and Varanasi.

Non-usage of seat belt in co-driver seat was 85 per cent in South, followed by East (79 per cent), West (60 per cent) and North (51 per cent), the data said. Never-use of rear seat belt was highest in South (80 per cent), followed by North (76 per cent), East (71 per cent) and West (43 per cent), it claimed.

“There have been lot of buzz around air bags, but air bags alone can’t help in protecting passengers. It’s more dangerous without a seat-belt,” RS Kalsi, Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), MSIL, told reporters here.

He said that as part of its corporate social responsibility programme, MSIL will conduct such surveys every year, and is running campaigns to spread awareness on seat belts. The company currently is running a campaign, ‘#PehniKya’, through various mediums.

On asked why the company had such a late response to a key issue, Kalsi said the company had been running such campaigns for a long time in its driving schools and has been educating its customers about the importance of seat belts.

The firm welcomed other participants (automobile companies) to participate with it.

MSIL said India’s record with regard to seat belts is dismal despite legal mandate enforced by the government. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, makes it mandatory for every occupant of a vehicle to be secured by seat belts, but it is rarely enforced.

In most cases, it is enforced for the driver, and in some parts of the country for the co-driver, but rarely for the rear seat, the survey highlighted, adding that awareness, motivation and stringent law enforcement can together drastically increase seat-belt usage across the country.

Published on November 15, 2017

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