India plans to mandate rear seat belt alarms in cars after tycoon dies in crash

Mr Cyrus Mistry did not have his seat belt on when he died in a car crash on Aug 4. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW DELHI - India is planning to make it mandatory for car makers to install an alarm system for rear seat belts to enforce their use, in an effort to reduce road accident fatalities, the transport minister said late on Tuesday.

The move comes after Cyrus Mistry, the former chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, died in a car crash on Sunday. He was sitting in the rear seat and did not have his seat belt on, local media reported citing police officials.

"Because of this Cyrus accident we have decided... an alarm will continue to beep until those sitting in the rear seats put on their seat belt," Nitin Gadkari said during an event organised by Indian daily Business Standard.

"There is already an alarm for those in the front seats, and now it will beep for rear seat belts too," he added In India, one person dies every four minutes in road accidents, the World Bank said last year.

While it is already mandatory for all occupants in a car in India, the world's fourth-biggest auto market, to wear a seat belt failing which they can be fined, passengers at the back seldom do and enforcement is also lax.

Gadkari said he plans to strictly enforce this rule and will introduce penalties for non compliance.

"The behaviour of the people is very important. We need to change the mindset of the people," he said. REUTERS

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