More than 90 percent of rear-seat child passengers in India don’t wear a seat belt, according to a new research report by Nissan India and SaveLIFE Foundation.
Released today by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, the study, Rear Seat-Belt Usage and Child Road Safety in India, also reveals that two-thirds of respondents thought Indian roads were unsafe for children. And while 92.8 percent of respondents said they were aware of the safety benefits of child helmets, only 20.1 percent said they owned one.
“While there have been various initiatives undertaken to raise awareness around road safety in India, the importance of wearing rear seat belts has been completely neglected,” said Thomas Kuehl, President, Nissan India. “At Nissan, it is our vision to enrich people’s lives and through this initiative, we aim to raise awareness around the usage of rear seat belts. Our strategic partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation and SHARP will set a strong base to bring attention towards this important issue. The first phase of our campaign will focus on reaching out and educating over 200k children in 240 schools across 12 cities on usage of rear seat belts and road safety.”
The report also highlights the need for greater policy awareness and implementation. Only 27.7 percent of respondents were aware that rear seat-belt usage is already mandated under the current law in India, yet 91.4 percent of respondents felt the need for a strong child road safety law.
“This report documents, for the first time in India, the concerning state of child safety on our roads and the public’s perception and expectation regarding the usage of rear seat belts,” said Piyush Tewari, Founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation. “High road crash fatality cannot be accepted as the norm. It is high time that basic provisions such as child helmets, safety measures in school zones, child seats, special training for school bus and van drivers, and adult accountability be made mandatory across the country. We look forward to the government’s help in enabling a change in mindset at a national level.”
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) data reveals that 9,408 children lost their lives in road crashes in 2017. This translates to nearly 26 child deaths on Indian roads every day.