Vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has unveiled a social campaign to promote the use of seat belts in cars in India.

A research survey conducted across 17 Indian cities, commissioned by MSIL, found that only 25% of car occupants currently wear seat belts regularly. According to the survey, seat belt use is high in the cities where enforcement is stringent, but low in the rest of the country. Besides poor enforcement the key reasons for not wearing a seat belt include lack of awareness of its benefits, the fear that wearing a seat belt will “negatively affect image”, that friends and family “do not wear it” and that it “ruins clothes”.

“The Indian Government is taking several measures to bring down accident fatalities and make roads safer for vehicle occupants and pedestrians,” said Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki. “We support these efforts. Seat belt is a primary safety system in a car and several studies show that its regular use can bring down injuries and fatalities in road accidents. Through our social campaign, ‘PehniKya’, we want to persuade car users to follow this simple safety step.”

The “#PehniKya” campaign will address concerns and reasons around seat belt usage, encouraging a positive behavioral change amongst car occupants. It will leverage a variety of platforms including television, print, radio, digital and on-ground activities. In its first phase the campaign will cover Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Nagpur and Indore.