With the Chennai traffic police set to enforce the use of seat belts in the city from Monday, some motorists owning old model cars have started enquiring about ways to install seat belts.
Retro-fitting certain models is proving to be a challenge. Some tourist agencies still operate old model cars, mostly Ambassadors and Maruti Omnis, which were originally sold without seat belts.
G. Prakash, of Choice Seat Zone, a car accessory shop on Peters Road, said many who own old model vans and cars have purchased seat belts from him. “Mostly, old model call-taxi’s that ply for IT companies have fitted them. They said that companies would not continue contracts if vehicles did not have seat belts.”
“All the new cars have seat belts. Manual seat belt sets cost around Rs.750 and automatic ones, Rs.1,500,” said a automobile spare parts dealer from G.P. Road. Lalgudi Srinivasan, joint secretary of Chennai Tourist Taxi Owners Association, said that seat belts have been part of cars for the past 15 years.
“Usually, when we change the seat, the old seat belt is discarded. Taxi drivers who own old Ambassador cars are trying to get these second- hand belts,” he said.
Additional Commissioner of Police M. Karunasagar said 50 special teams have been formed to enforce the rule.