Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha government is going to make wearing of seat belts by occupants in the rear seat of four-wheelers compulsory and penalise drivers with hefty fines for non-compliance with the rule.

The State Commerce and Transport Department in a letter to the transport commissioner on September 27 directed to issue necessary instructions regarding the use of rear seat belts.

“Section 194B of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 mandates the use of safety belts, and Sub-section 1 of Section -194 B, speaks that "whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a seat belt or carries passengers not wearing safety belt shall be punishable with a fine of Rs 1000", transport department joint secretary Kishore Chandra Das wrote.

“Further, rule -125(1) of CMVR, 1989 specifies that all motor vehicles other than motorcycles and 3 Wheelers shall be equipped with a seat belt for the driver and the person occupying the front seat,” Das stated.

He said rule -125(1) (a) of CMVR also indicates that M1 category motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver seat shall be equipped with a seat belt for a person occupying the front facing rear seat.

“Therefore, all passengers of M1 category vehicles having front facing seats should wear seat belts. The seat covers on passenger seats should not obstruct the locking and unlocking of the seat belt,” he emphasized.

The transport commissioner has been requested to issue necessary instructions regarding the use of seat belts as per the provisions and brought it to the notice of public.

“Non-compliance of the above provisions may also be strictly enforced,” the transport department joint secretary said. 

“You are, further, requested that at the time of renewal of fitness of vehicles, it may be ensured that the seat covers used are not obstructing the locking and unlocking of seat belts,” he added.

It can be mentioned here that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had ordered enforcement of rear seat belt rule for occupants of car mandatory following death of former Tata Sons chairperson Cyrus Mistry in a car accident earlier this month.