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Govt asks Amazon to stop selling seat belt alarm blockers

People buy clips from Amazon to evade wearing seatbelts. We have sent a notice to Amazon to stop (selling these), Gadkari said. (HT_PRINT)Premium
People buy clips from Amazon to evade wearing seatbelts. We have sent a notice to Amazon to stop (selling these), Gadkari said. (HT_PRINT)

In an interview in which Nitin Gadkari discussed planned safety measures, the minister said the metal clips available on Amazon are inserted in seatbelt slots to bypass the alarm that typically keeps pinging when seatbelts are not in use while a car is being driven.

The government has asked online retail giant Amazon to stop selling devices designed to disable car seatbelt alarms, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters, citing potential safety risks.

In an interview in which Gadkari discussed planned safety measures, the minister said the metal clips available on Amazon are inserted in seatbelt slots to bypass the alarm that typically keeps pinging when seatbelts are not in use while a car is being driven.

"People buy clips from Amazon to evade wearing seatbelts. We have sent a notice to Amazon to stop (selling these)," he said.

Apart from this, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also written to the consumer affairs ministry to ask e-commerce companies to stop selling devices designed to disable car seat belt alarms, news agency PTI has reported citing a senior government official.

Also Read: ‘Some chief ministers…’ Nitin Gadkari reveals shocking details while speaking on Cyrus Mistry’s death

Though the sale of the metal clips is not illegal, such devices and broader road safety issues have come under closer scrutiny after Indian tycoon Cyrus Mistry died in a car crash at the weekend. It appears that Mistry, who was seated in the rear with his friend Jahangir Pandole, wasn't wearing a seat belt and must have been thrown in front at great velocity as the speeding car crashed into a divider. Pandole also died in the accident.

The official said the Central Consumer Protection Authority had sent notices to e-commerce companies selling devices designed to disable car seat belt alarms based on a Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) complain in May this year.

Gadkari on Tuesday said that the government is planning to make it mandatory for the automakers to build the rear seatbelt alarm also. Currently, it is mandatory for all vehicle manufacturers to provide seat belt reminders only for front-seat passengers.

Although rear seat passengers not wearing a seat belt attracts a fine of 1,000 under Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), most people are either unaware of it or just ignore it. Even traffic policemen seldom fine rear seat passengers for not wearing seat belts.

A recent road ministry report mentioned that in 2020, the number of persons killed and injured due to not wearing a seat belt stood at 15,146 and 39,102, respectively. As per a report by World Bank, one person dies every four minutes in road accidents in India.

Nitin Gadkari also said that the Centre is aiming to halve road accidents and related deaths by the end of 2024. Further, the union cabinet minister also said the government hoped to finalise a draft for a mandatory six airbags in all cars this year.

Earlier this week, Gadkari said, "I have travelled with chief ministers of four different states in the last one year. All of their drivers had clips installed in the cars that subverted the seat belt alarms in their cars."

(With inputs from agencies)


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