India’s one of the top auto manufacturing company Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has started a social campaign ( #PehniKya?) across the country to promote using seat belts while travelling in cars. The main aim is to enhance the safety of all the car occupants and educate them about the importance of seatbelts in restraining fatal road accidents and injuries. The social campaign will be across all the mass media platforms like television, radio and on-ground public events.
According to the latest research that has been conducted by MSIL across 17 major cities of India, only 25% car occupants use the seat belt on regular basis. The survey indicates that the use of seat belts is higher in the cities with strict enforcement than the cities where the legal enforcement is comparatively weak.
Apart from the weak enforcement, there are a few other reasons that have been found behind not wearing a seat belt. It has been found that people are less aware of the benefits of using seat belt, while some people think that wearing a seat belt will ruin their image or ruin their clothes. Few people do not use seat belt as their friends and family do not wear it.
Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa, the Managing Director & CEO of Maruti Suzuki said: “The Indian Government is taking several measures to bring down accident fatalities and make roads safer for vehicle occupants and pedestrians. 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.”
“Based on the findings of our research, we believe that an effective communication campaign across platforms, together with strict enforcement, will convince car users to make seat belt use a habit and support the government’s efforts for road safety”, he added.
As to the government’s advanced safety norms, the passenger vehicles are coming armed with airbags, this makes the use of seat belts even more essential. Because an airbag can cause more harm in a crash if the car occupant is not using the seat belt.
It has been noted in the data collected from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) that non-wearing of seat belts has resulted in 5638 accident deaths in 2016. As to World Health Organization (WHO), seat belts can reduce the risk of road accident deaths and injuries by 45-60%.