Draft standards for rear seat-belt reminders mandates alerts for unbuckled occupied seats

NEW DELHI: The road transport ministry has put draft standards for rear seatbelt reminders, which would be a mandatory feature in all new cars in the next six months. As per the proposed automotive standard, the audio seatbelt reminder will alert the driver and occupants even if any passenger, including on the rear seat, removes the safety-belt buckle later.
TOI has learnt that the government would come out with the notification for the new safety feature in all cars during this week and the manufacturers will get adequate time to introduce this feature in the new vehicles. Sources said the changes will make Indian cars compliant with the European cars on this parameter.
According to the proposed amendment in Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) related to additional safety features for vehicles, there would be a three-level warning system for not wearing seatbelt by any of the occupants. In the ‘first level warning’, a visual warning will be activated as soon as the ignition switch is engaged by the driver and there will be visual warning on the console about occupants not wearing seatbelt. An audible warning can also be added as an option.
The ‘second level warning’ will be visual and audible as soon as the driver starts the vehicle, in case any of the occupants is not wearing the seatbelt.
The third level of warning (safety belt is not fastened) will come as soon as any of the occupants unbuckles the seat-belt.
According to vehicle safety experts, these features will make the driver virtually responsible to ensure that all the occupants are wearing seatbelts in a car since he will get alerts about all passengers.
Soon after the tragic death of industrialist Cyrus Mistry, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had announced the plan to introduce seat-belt reminder for rear passengers. Investigators had found that Mistry and another occupant who died were at the rear seat and not wearing seat-belts. The forensic probe into the fatal crash has also recommended mandatory introduction of rear seatbelt reminder and three-point seat-belts for safety of occupants.
Sources said the notification for the three-point seat belt would also be issued soon. The ministry in February had published the draft notification for “three-point seat belts for all front-facing passengers in a car, including the middle seat in the rear row”.