Many still flout seat belt rule
By Sangeeta Bora / ENS - BANGALORE
09th August 2012 08:01 AM
It has been seven months since the Bangalore Traffic Police made it mandatory for drivers of both light and heavy commercial vehicles to wear seat belts. Unlike other cities, till date, this ‘community’ has not taken the rule seriously especially the heavy commercial vehicle drivers. From the month of January till July, 1,38,353 spot fines have been levied and another 15,480 notices have been sent by the authorities.
Sub-Inspector, Vasanth Kumar who supervises the traffic control room and monitors the whole of Bangalore through the surveillance cameras says, “Majority of the people are abiding by the rule as far as light commercial vehicles are concerned. But we are very disappointed with the drivers of heavy commercial vehicles as they are also supposed to abide by the seat belt rule. Most of the time, they are found to be neglecting it.”
Traffic expert MN Sreehari points out, “There are two issues, one is enforcement and another is individual responsibility. The enforcement department is doing their job, but there must be some sort of responsibility towards our own safety. The public at large should cooperate, after all the rule has been amended for their welfare and not for the enforcement officers.”
Another point which needs to be brought to the forefront is that as soon as the people reach outskirts of the city, they start removing their seat belts.
“I have witnessed many people driving on the outskirts without a seat belt. They should realise that the purpose of the seat belt rule is to protect the chest from any harm being caused by the steering wheel. In fact, the seat belt is more necessary on the outskirts. There is a need to bring this change in the attitude of the people,” Sreehari added.
He further stressed, “Besides, the traffic police manning the traffic through CCTV should also check the people on the outskirts more often as they are the people who often drive without a seat belt. In countries like the US, people would not dare to throw a waste paper in the forest area as they will end up paying a fine of $1000 and that’s because they are being watched and monitored through satellites all the time. May be, we need to bring in such initiatives.”
On the seat belt violations by the heavy commercial vehicles, Sreehari added, “BMTC have very old buses and it is important for the driver to wear a seat belt. As for the trucks, they do not have seat belt facilities but I think the RTO in their fitness centre care should insist on such safety issues.”
In the last decade, NIMHANS along with the Bangalore traffic department have focused on sensitisation of senior police and transport personnel, while training middle and lower category officials on enforcement of road safety regulations.
In 2009 and 2010, all middle and police level officers were trained in enforcement of helmet, seat belt, drink drive and speed enforcement laws in the city.
The results of these training programmes are evident with increasing enforcement and booking of violators from year to year.
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