The death of former chairman of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry in a road crash, near Palghar, in Maharashtra, threw open a loud debate on the importance of wearing seat belts for rear seat passengers. Mistry was seated at the back and wasn’t wearing his seatbelt when the Mercedes-Benz GLC in which he was sitting struck the divider of a bridge over River Surya and he died on the spot. This happened on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway at around 3 pm. With the government making efforts to improve road safety, what are some of the steps that need to be taken on an individual level? And what do the auto companies have to say about various safety features in their products?
Raghav Belavadi, the founder of Hype Luxury, which offers luxury brands in mobility and lifestyles, says, “All our car rentals in the luxury category are primarily from the European sector offering the safest vehicle in the market as they have been designed to avoid crashes and offer the most advanced safety and driver assist system. Luxury vehicles have a higher rating for safety than others. These cars are powerful vehicles on the road loaded with advanced safety features and highest comfort within a car. Even at a high speed these powerful vehicles run smoothly and the driver may be in control of the vehicle but it is important to judge where you are driving it. On a straight highway it may be a smooth ride but within city limits or a hilly area or off road track one needs to be mindful while driving,” he says.
Specific cars are offered in certain terrains. For example, in case of a hilly area drive they recommend a 4×4 wheeler driver, with infants and young kids the best options are SUVs with child seat options while for city needs they remind users that the speed limit should be followed at all times and they have an automated system where warnings are given if it is crossed.
Research has revealed certain times and most common reasons for accidents to occur, as Sagar Joshi, Founder of Auto i Care informs us. Joshi’s company is a roadside assistance provider, and they have handled many vehicles involved in crashes all over India. “We have noticed that most of the crashes happen at pre-dawn or due to driver negligence. Today’s cars are equipped with a lot of safety features as per the price and they go through a lot of safety tests. But sometimes conditions are such that, despite having the latest safety features the passengers inside the car get hurt or lose their lives due to lack of medical aid. In the wake of the recent crashes, the government has taken proper steps in ensuring that rear seatbelts are mandatory in all cars. This will ensure safety of all passengers on board and reduce the fatalities in case of an accident,” he says. Auto i Care mobile app has features which can facilitate help in 20 minutes in case of car breakdowns and also helps in contacting emergency services, towing and in cases of major vehicular accidents.
Different auto brands too come with their own safety features Take Volkswagen for example. In India, Volkswagen pioneered safety with the introduction of dual airbags as standard (across the variants) on the Polo in the hatchback segment in 2014. “It was the only carline that year to receive a 4-star GNCAP rating on adult protection owing to its impeccable structural rigidity and strength. Since then, the safety elements and features in our product portfolio have only evolved. Today, all Volkswagen products are aligned to the regulatory requirements with respect to safety. The Volkswagen Taigun, Virtus and Tiguan come with over 40+ safety features to protect the occupant. It offers dual airbags as standard and up to 6 airbags on the top variants, ESC, multi-collision brakes, 3-point seat belts with individual adjustable head restraints at the rear, tyre pressure deflation warning, over speeding alerts and hill hold control amongst many others,” says the company spokesperson for Volkswagen Passenger Cars India.
The bottomline seems to be that regardless of which vehicle you are driving, the importance once given to wearing seat belts in the front is now being transferred to being as mindful about the practice for the back seat passengers too. No doubt several such crashes have taken place before too, but when a renonwed personality is involved, the attention given to the causes multiply, whether it is Mistry’s fatal car crash or the renewed lens on gym workouts after what happened to beloved comedian Raju Shrivastav.
The author can be reached at bkabir@Instagram.com/kabirsinghbhandariand