43,689 drivers, passengers penalised for not wearing seat belts

Mumbai: The Mumbai traffic police have penalised at least 43,689 drivers and passengers for not wearing seat belts since November 1.

According to the figures released by the traffic police, 22,970 challans were issued to drivers and 20,719 to passengers, both front and rear, for travelling without fastening seat belts.

The statistics revealed that, the highest of 10,500 challans were issued to drivers in the East and 6,153 passengers in West regions of the city.

This year, the police have issued around 1.78 lakh challans to drivers and 56,048 to passengers, who were found driving or travelling without seat belts so far.

On October 14, the traffic police had issued an order making wearing seat belts for passengers sitting on rear seats compulsory from November 1 and those caught violating the rule will be fined, however, after much resistance the police had extended the date to November 10, stating that many passengers were not aware of the rule and they will focus on creating awareness among passengers about the benefits of seat belts.

When contacted, Al Quadros, leader of taxi union, said that the traffic police have given concessions to taxis, which do not have the provision of seat belts in rear seats, “There are many taxi drivers, who had removed the seat belts and now there is a shortage of seat belts in the market. We have placed an order for 1,000 new seat belts,” said Quadros.

Quadros also said that the traffic police are penalising taxi drivers instead of noting the name, address and mobile number of passengers, who refuse to buckle up and sending e-challans to taxi drivers instead of penalising passengers on the spot.