Cyrus Mistry’s car crash highlights importance of wearing seat belts even for rear passengers

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC comes with curtain airbags on the sides but no front-facing airbags for rear passengers in the car

September 05, 2022 05:14 pm | Updated September 06, 2022 11:40 am IST - New Delhi

Wreackage of the Mercedes car in which businessman and former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry was travelling when it met with an accident in Palghar, on September 4, 2022.

Wreackage of the Mercedes car in which businessman and former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry was travelling when it met with an accident in Palghar, on September 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Mercedes-Benz GLC 220d 4MATIC, the SUV former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry was riding in on Sunday, comes with various safety features to protect passengers, including rear seat belts which apparently were not being used by the occupants of the ill-fated car.

Mistry, 54, and his friend Jahangir Pandole were killed in an accident in the Palghar district of Maharashtra on Sunday.

Anahita Pandole, 55, who was driving the 2017 version of the SUV, and her husband Darius Pandole, 60, were seriously injured.

The 2017 GLC 220d 4MATIC comes with seven airbags overall. There are no front-facing airbags for rear passengers in the car and just curtain airbags on the sides.

And just like any other car, airbags are ‘SRS’ or Supplementary Restraint System. The primary restraint system on cars remains the seat belt.

Therefore, the usage of seat belts is crucial for the safety of rear passengers, whether they are travelling in entry-level models or high-end luxury cars like the one Mistry was using, industry experts said.

It appears that Mistry wasn’t wearing a seat belt and must have been thrown in front at great velocity once the speeding car crashed into a divider.

As per a preliminary probe, over-speeding and “error of judgement” by the driver caused the accident, a police official has said.

As per the officials, both Mistry and Jahangir Pandole, seated in the rear, were not wearing seat belts. The officials have noted that prima facie, the luxury car was speeding when the accident took place on Sunday afternoon.

The Mercedes car covered a distance of 20 km in just nine minutes after crossing the Charoti check post in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, 120 km away from Mumbai, as per the police officials.

The car hit a road divider on a bridge over the Surya river, killing Mistry and Jahangir Pandole on the spot. Mistry was returning to Mumbai from Udvada near Valsad when the tragedy struck.

The car was driven by Mumbai-based gynaecologist Anahita Pandole.

Elaborating on the importance of wearing seat belts, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted on Monday, ”I resolve to always wear my seat belt even when in the rear seat of the car. And I urge all of you to take that pledge too. We all owe it to our families.”

The latest version of the all-wheel drive GLC 220d 4MATIC comes with a price tag upwards of ₹68 lakh. It has a ‘pre-safe system’ where the front seat belts can be electrically pretensioned in hazardous situations.

As per the Mercedes-Benz India website, the GLC’s pre-safe system reduces the forward displacement of the occupants during braking or skidding in an impending accident.

Besides, the knee-bag in the model protects legs from contact with the steering column or the dashboard in a severe frontal crash preventing or lessening the severity of injuries. It also has a tyre pressure monitoring system which provides warning in the event of a drop in pressure. 

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