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Road safety in the nation is a hot topic after billionaire Cyrus Mistry of India died in a car accident.

India insists on seat belts after car crash of Cyrus Mistry

Mistry, 54, passed away on Sunday after the vehicle he was riding in collided with a highway divider on the way from Gujarat to Mumbai of India. Investigations are still going on, but police authorities were quoted in local media as saying that Mistry and a fellow passenger in the back seat, who also perished, were not using seat belts.

All car occupants in India are required to wear seat belts by law, but this is rarely enforced for passengers in the back seats. But everything could soon change. Nitin Gadkari, the federal minister of transportation, declared on Tuesday that non-seatbelt users in the back seats would soon face fines.

Additionally, the government plans to mandate that rear seat belt alarms be installed by automakers. The decision was made following the Cyrus disaster, Mr. Gadkari said on Tuesday. “An alert will continue to beep until individuals sitting in the rear seats wear a seat belt,” he added.

On Indian roadways, thousands of people perish in accidents every year; in 2021, the death toll exceeded 150,000, or an average of 18 per hour, according to government statistics.

Although the figures are concerning, they have rarely sparked a national debate on auto and road safety. However, following Mistry’s passing, a three-second video simulation showing the potential effects of an accident on a back seat passenger not wearing a seat belt was shared by hundreds of social media users.

Many others, including Indian entrepreneur Anand Mahindra, pledged via Twitter to always buckle up, even when seated in the back seat. The official Twitter account of the road transport ministry congratulated Mr. Mahindra for “bringing attention to the issue of road safety.”

However, several also mentioned additional problems that required immediate attention. A drivers’ organization representative claimed that the incident was caused by “faulty road engineering,” pointing out that the wide flyover the car was traveling on abruptly narrows into a “serpentine lane,” which may have confused the driver.

According to other experts, the government should make sure that roadways all across the nation have a uniform design and appropriate signboards. In India, the topic of auto and road safety has always been complex.

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