The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highway has issued draft rules which propose to make it mandatory for carmakers to an install alarm system for seat belts in the backseat of cars.

Safety-belt reminder means a system dedicated to alert the driver when driver, co-driver and all other front-facing seat occupants do not use the safety-belt, according to the draft rules. The system is constituted by a detection of an unfastened safety-belt and by a driver's alert, which is a first level warning and a second-level warning.

First-level warning means a visual warning activated when the ignition switch is engaged (engine running or not) and the driver's and/or co-driver’s front facing seat occupants' safety-belt is not fastened. An audible warning can be added as an option, the draft rules say.

Second-level warning means a visual and audible warning activated when a driver operates a vehicle without fastening of driver and/or co-driver front facing seat occupants' safety-belt.

The government is seeking comments on draft rules till October 5, 2022.

This comes in the wake of Tata Sons former chairman Cyrus Mistry's death in a car crash earlier this month. According to the local police, Mistry was seated in the backseat and was not wearing a seat belt when the Mercedes car he was travelling in hit a divider.

After the accident, Union minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari said there will be a provision to penalise drivers if passengers in the backseat of a car are not wearing seat belts.

While Gadkari didn't divulge details on the amount of fine that will be imposed for not wearing a seat belt in the rear seats, he said this is a subject in the concurrent list and the amount will differ from state to state.

Gadkari further said that the government is in talks with carmakers to add more safety features like beep sound if passengers in the backseat don't wear seat belts. "If car passengers have not put on their seat belts, there will be beep sound like it is for the driver seat," he said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has already started imposing fine on violators. It also launched a campaign to inform people of the mandatory rule of wearing seat belts in the backseat. Offenders have to pay a fine of ₹1,000 under Section 194B of the Motor Vehicles Act, which is regarding the use of safety belts.

In June, the minister said that the government will make a minimum of six airbags mandatory for cars even in economic models to enhance the safety of passengers. There is a higher domestic demand for higher star ratings cars which are much safer, Gadkari had said. "Some of the companies are making same brand cars in India which are not up to the standard but they are making the same cars with international standards for the overseas market," he had said.

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