Uber asks its India drivers to ensure rear seatbelts work in their cars
- The move comes amid growing pressure on road safety in India.
- Uber is checking at airports to ensure driver compliance.
- Last year, there was a road death every four minutes in India, the World Bank said.
NEW DELHI: Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has asked its drivers in India to ensure that backseat seat belts in their vehicles are accessible to passengers and work, a local business tycoon has said. A few days after he was killed in a private car accident.
The move comes amid growing pressure on road safety in India, the world’s fourth-largest car market. In early September, Cyrus Mistry, the former chairman of India’s Tata Sons, was killed in a crash in his Mercedes, and local media reported that he was not wearing a seat belt in the back seat.
“To avoid any fines or complaints from riders, please ensure seat belts in the back seats are accessible and active,” Uber said in an advisory to its drivers on Tuesday.
A source with direct knowledge also said Uber is checking at airports to make sure its drivers are complying with seat belt rules.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Its Indian rival Ola, which is backed by SoftBank Group, sent an advisory to drivers in recent weeks to enforce seat belt rules, a company representative said. Reuters.
It comes at a time when the government is trying to push through a series of measures to improve road safety in a country with some of the world’s deadliest roads.
The World Bank said last year that one death occurs on roads in India every four minutes.
India already has laws mandating passengers to wear seat belts in the back seat, but only a few comply. Enforcement is also poor despite the provision of a fine of 1,000 rupees ($12.55) for non-compliance.
In most cases, car and taxi owners put seat covers on their back seats over the seat belts, making them inaccessible for use.
In its advisory, Uber asked drivers to make sure backseat seat belts are installed, adding that “if the belt is hidden under the seat cover, please remove the cover”.
India’s government has also said it wants automakers to install an alarm system for rear seat belts to enforce their use and to make six airbags mandatory in all cars.