PUNE: The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) will soon introduce seat belts for passengers’ safety in 2,000 Shivshahi buses in phases over the next few months.
According to MSRTC officials, eight buses have been fitted with seat belts. “Out of 45 seats in each bus, 12 seats will have belts with mild steel body. The front, rear and emergency exit row seats are being fitted with seat belts,” said a senior official of transport department.
“All Shivshahi buses will have seat belts soon, but it will take time. This will reduce fatalities in over 50 per cent cases of accident. The latest national statistics show that 15 persons die across the country daily for not fastening seat belts while in Maharashtra, every day, on an average, one person loses his or her life,” said an officer of MSRTC on condition of anonymity.
However, a senior MSRTC officer said the corporation was concerned about mishaps where sleeping passengers were thrown off. “This has resulted in instant deaths. Had there been a seat belt, we could have saved lives. We have therefore decided to introduce these seat belts in Shivshahi buses and might take a call on whether to introduce seat belts in other buses,” said a senior officer.
A senior official from the department said, “There is no compulsion on private tourist buses or government buses to have seat belts.”
SEAT BELTS MORE EFFECTIVE
A transport department source said, “Seat belts are more effective than airbags. Seat belts are a primary restraint system and 50 per cent more effective in preventing fatalities in crashes. Airbags are a supplementary restraint system and designed to give additional protection in frontal crashes at a speed of over 13 km per hour. Fastening the seat belt is critical and having one on all seats is the need of the hour.”