The deadline for following the seat-belt rule in the city has been extended by a week. The police will start enforcing it from December 9.
However, once it is enforced, taxi drivers and front-seat passengers too will have to wear the seat belts. “There has been good response to the awareness campaign. We are waiting for the motorists to voluntarily follow it,” said Karunasagar, additional commissioner of police, traffic.
The seat-belt rule was supposed to come into force from December 1. “We conducted awareness programmes, including a rally by students, in order to encourage motorists to wear seat belts. A total of 50 teams will be assigned the task of enforcing the rule,” said a senior traffic police officer.
According to the traffic police, in the event of an accident, on collision, the driver and front-seat passenger will sustain grievous injuries if they are not wearing seat belts.
Section 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, also mandate the use of seat belts when the vehicle is in motion. Offenders are liable to pay a penalty of Rs. 100 the first time and Rs. 300 for subsequent offences, as per Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Lalgudi Srinivasan, joint secretary of Chennai Tourist Taxi Owners Association, commends the move. He said high-end cars and certain imported vehicles give indication through beeping sounds if the seat belt is not worn.
“The drivers can also advise front-seat passengers to wear the seat belt. It prevents spinal cord injury,” he said.