Had Munde worn a seat belt, he would have been alive, says Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan, said the Health Ministry will soon start a campaign on road traffic safety.

By: Express News Service | Delhi | Updated: June 5, 2014 8:08 am
harsh-main Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan at Parliament House on Wednesday. (Source:  Express photo byprem nath pandey)

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said had Gopinath Munde worn a seat belt, he would have been alive. It is a misconception, he said, that the rear seat belts are not required to be used.

Harsh Vardhan said his ministry will start a campaign to ensure road traffic safety — something that is ordinarily the mandate of the Ministry of Road Transport.

Union Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde died on Tuesday after his car was hit from the side by a motorist who had allegedly jumped a light. The damage to the Minister’s car was not great, but the force of the throw-forward within the confined space of the car damaged the atlanto axial joint in his neck and severely injured the spinal cord.

“I lost my friend to a misconception. Most people think that the rear seat belts serve only a decorative purpose. In fact, wearing them is as necessary as wearing the seat belt in the front seat. They can save lives in the event of an impact. The damage to the human body is often greater when the victim is not ejected from the vehicle. Scientific tests have proven that wearing seat belts gives them a hope of survival,” Harsh Vardhan said.

The minister made the statement before leaving for Beed to attend Munde’s funeral. Under the traffic laws, wearing a seat belt is not mandatory for passengers in the rear seat.

He said the Health Ministry will launch a multi-media campaign soon to make people aware of road safety measures. The focus would be on children orphaned by such accidents.

“The focus would be child victims of such accidents. I would like to seek the cooperation of associations of petroleum dealers in order to utilise pumps as points ofinterface with motorists. Perhaps, a system could be developed under which petrol and diesel can be denied to those who don’t use seat belts and helmets. A new law, which makes non-use of seat belts and helmets a punishable offence, is necessary.” the minister said.

The minister claimed that research in the UK has shown that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 per cent, and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 per cent.

For those in the rear of vans and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), rear seat belts were 73 per cent better in preventing fatalities, he said.

Harsh Vardhan pointed to the accident in which Princess Diana was killed and also the one which claimed the life of former Delhi CM Sahib Singh Verma to drive home the importance of seat belts.

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  1. H
    Jun 5, 2014 at 12:58 am
    Had that surd not run the red light...under whose directions we need to find out..Mr Munde would still be alive. But in the early morning...with not much traffic ..he ran the red light and hit exactly the spot and side where Mr Munde was sitting.....very very suious. So forget about the seat belt ..it is too late. We need to question this man and track all his activities previous to this accident.
  2. Y
    Your Father
    Jun 5, 2014 at 1:19 am
    There you go...no conspiracy from "muslims". Plain simple common sense....wear seat belts. No need of CBI or CID enquiry
  3. G
    Jun 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm
    but most cars on the road don't have any rear seat belts.
  4. R
    Ravi Sheopory
    Jun 6, 2014 at 11:51 am
    Not only Seat Belts , but also it should be compulsory to wear Helmets while driving a car fro all pengers ., as when you head crashes against a front seat or maybe the Wind shield , its force can kill you instantly.Also it should be compulsory to wear Helmets while a plane is taking off or landing , as when a mishap occurs , then the head will crash violently against thew front sear of the aircraft at 500 kms per hr, which is uncontrollable under any cirstances
  5. P
    Jun 4, 2014 at 9:50 pm
    I must say it is very easy to say this in hindsight, but zero percent folks wear a seat belt while sitting on rear seat. Even in most states in the US rear pengers in car are not mandated to wear seat belts.Let's talk sense. First, if we can only strictly ensure all two wheeler drivers put on the helmet that would be a great start. Then next, if all front car pengers are strictly enforced to wear seat belts that would be a great place to be at.Next, and most importantly, if India can mandate slower traffic and trucks etc to stay on the left side of the road along with two wheelers as well, while faster cars to be in the fastest lane (i.e. right most lane) then we are already in a very good place. Finally, if people are forced to obey traffic lights and not jump them, plus if Indians can stop driving on the wrong side of the road (just to take shorter cuts) we are in a very, very good state.All the above are mere basics, and are followed/ enforced strictly in most developed words. So before expecting rear seat pengers to put on a seat belt the above should be taken care of first. It is just like expecting to earn enough to eat daal, rice first and then to plan how one can have chicken, fish, daaru etc. Makes sense?
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