Cyrus Mistry Death: Not Wearing Rear Seat Belt Can Cost You Your Life!

On Sunday afternoon, Cyrus Mistry, former Chairman of Tata Motors, lost his life after meeting with a car accident. As per the preliminary findings, Mistry was travelling in Mercedes Benz GLC and was sitting in the back seat. The car, after reaching a bridge over the Surya river, hit the divider and led to the killing of passengers sitting at the back. According to sources, Cyrus and his fellow passenger were not wearing seat belts, due to which they experienced severe injuries and lost their lives. The person sitting in the front seat, however, experienced minimal injuries due to the deployment of airbags in time. Although the death of the former chairman seems obvious due to the crash, it raised concerns regarding the speed limits on highways, airbags deployment, and seat belt protection mechanisms in the vehicles.

What Is Maharashtra Police Response? 

In its initial findings, the Maharashtra police found the overspeeding of Mercedes Benz GLC as one of the main causes behind the accident. The police stated that the Mercedes Benz GLC travelled a distance of 20 km in just 9 minutes after crossing the Charoti check post in the Palghar district. In support of its assumptions, the police checked the timing and CCTV footage of the Charoti check post.  The investigating officer stated: “As per the preliminary investigation, overspeeding and the error of judgement caused the driver to lose control over the vehicle. As per our analysis of the CCTV footage captured at the Charoti check post, we found that the car crossed the check post at 2:21 pm, and the accident took place nine minutes later at a distance of 20 km,”

Who Were Travelling In The Car?

According to the sources, the former chairman of Tata Motors was travelling in a Mercedes-Benz GLC sports utility vehicle with Darius Pandole, former independent director in the Tata Group. In addition to him, Anahita Pandole, wife of Darius, and Jehangir Pandole, Darius's brother, were in the car. According to eyewitnesses, Anahita Pandole, a Mumbai-based gynaecologist, was driving the car and lost control of the vehicle while trying to overtake another vehicle from the wrong side. The loss of control led the vehicle to hit a divider at a very high speed.

Road Accidents - A Common Event in India

Mistry's death due to the car accident has sparked calls for stricter actions against the overspeeding of vehicles on Indian roads. As per the NCRB report on road accidents death, more than 85,000 people lose their lives due to overspeeding. Hence, there is an urgent need to address overspeeding in the country. The second key observation from Mistry's death opens up the issue of the non-popularity of seat belt culture among Indians. It is usually found that Indians, no matter which class they belong to, avoid wearing seat belts while sitting at the back.  Here, it is important to note that vehicle manufacturers provide seatbelts in the rear seat as well. However, the reluctance comes from the passenger's side in wearing seatbelts. The third aspect which comes into play involves the importance of airbags for rear passengers. In the case of Cyrus Mistry death, the investigating officers are yet to identify whether the Mercedes GLC deployed airbags in time and whether it could have prevented loss of lives. According to sources, the central government is soon going to make it compulsory for car manufacturers to equip at least six airbags in the vehicle.  Meanwhile, several car manufacturers have raised questions about the move. They cited that in a country where people prefer buying small cars how it will be possible to fit six airbags at a lower cost. They have argued that cost is the main factor which people consider while buying new vehicles.

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