Statistics provided by the state highway safety police have revealed that there is a manifold increase in traffic violation instances of motorists not wearing seat belts in the state. In 2019, 5.50 lakh challans were issued against motorists not wearing seat belts which has increased to 9.14 lakh by September 04. Total fine amount imposed in these cases this year to date is a whopping Rs 23.09 crore.
According to the statistics, in 2019, 5.50 lakh challans amounting to total of Rs 23.09 crores fine were issued of which 86000 challans remain unpaid. In 2020, 7.11 lakh challans amounting to total of Rs 17.09 crore fine were issued, of which2.43 lakh challans remain unpaid.
In 2021, 9.27 lakh challans amounting to a total of Rs 23.63 crores fines were issued of which 3.99 lakh challans remained unpaid. The number has risen significantly in 2022 as well with 9.14 lakh challans amounting to total of Rs 23.09 crore already being issued from January till September 4, of which 4.54 lakh challans remain unpaid.
"The figure includes Mumbai as well. All the challans are issued against the vehicle number. It is up to the owner as to who s/he gives the responsibility or liability to pay the challan. The primary responsibility is of the vehicle owner to ensure the vehicle is not involved in a traffic violation. Currently, we issue challan under Section 194B (1) of the Motor Vehicles Act which is related to the use of safety belts. So whoever drives a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt or carries passengers not wearing seat belts shall be punishable with a fine of Rs 200," said a state highway traffic police officer.
He added, "We had recently taken a special drive at the Mumbai-Pune expressway with regards to the seat belt violation. We had undertaken a Lok Adalat drive and had raised the issue of pending or unpaid challans in the Lok Adalat. Notices were then issued to the traffic offenders through Lok Adalat. Over Rs 200 crore amount of unpaid challans were then recovered from the offenders."
"Awareness related to traffic rules is being done on a daily basis by our policemen at Dhaba, trucks or stationed vehicles. Mrityunjay Doot public volunteers also create awareness. Wearing a seat belt will not only save a life but will also ensure that a person does not suffer severe injury. The reason for not wearing a seat belt, according to me, is that it takes time for behavioural changes. Especially those sitting in the rear seats feel that they are not at much risk but they should understand that when static energy is converted to kinetic energy then the person sitting in the rear seat is pushed to the front. In fact, those sitting at the back are at more risk because if you do not fasten your belt that it is possible that you might crash into the head of the person sitting in front and snap his/her seat belt," said Additional Director General of Police, state highway safety police, Kulwant Sarangal.