International Road Federation (IRF)—a global road safety body—has urged the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to make the use of seat belts mandatory in all heavy vehicles, including passenger buses and school buses, to minimise casualties and injuries in road accidents.

IRF President Emeritus K K Kapila in a letter to MoRTH said there is an urgent need to provide seats belts in buses, which need to be made mandatory.

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"There have been heart-wrenching passenger bus accidents resulting in loss of innocent lives. Many of them would have been saved, had they been wearing seat belts," he said.

Kapila pointed out that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2021 data, only 14 individuals lost their lives in bus accidents in the US.

Similarly, based on the analysis of the accident propensity of Chinese bus drivers in 2022, China reported 215 fatalities.

He pointed out that both developing and developed countries have achieved remarkable outcomes due to stringent safety standards for public transport like buses.

"The contrasting and alarming data in India suggests a lacuna in mandating safety standards in buses, jeopardising the lives of school children, the poor, and the low income strata of the society," Kapila added.