A fatal road accident last Sunday claimed the life of Cyrus Mistry. The former chairman of Tata Sons and one of his friends lost their lives in this accident on the Chatori bridge over the Surya river as the car crashed into a divider. Let’s look into the details:
The accident occurred while Cyrus Mistry was returning from Ahmedabad to Mumbai with Anahita Pandole, Darius Pandole and Jahangir Pandole. The Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV car crashed with Anahita at the wheel, killing Cryus & Jahangir while she & Darius survived. Auto journalist Bob Rupani stated:
“The Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway is one of the most crowded and badly designed highways in our country. This accident happened on a bridge over the Surya River in the Charoti region. I know this area and highway quite well, and the problem is that the approach to bridges on this highway needs huge improvement. This highway that goes through Palghar is also used by lots of heavy trucks moving goods between Delhi and Mumbai, and the truckers insist on occupying the right lane and force you to overtake dangerously from the left.”
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This has raised concerns about the design & construction of the Indian highways along with driving discipline. This three-lane highway narrows down to two lanes where the car hit the divider and stopped.
Mercedes’s Safety Concerns
Cyrus Mistry was travelling in the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV, which is one of the most popular and high-selling luxury SUVs in India. It is based on the MRA architecture and received a 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Its safety features include equipment like 7 airbags, adaptive brake lights and Mercedes’s Pre-Safe occupant protection system.
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While Police have termed this case as an overspeeding mishap it has still raised concern for the Euro NCAP & the luxury carmaker. It is alleged that the rear airbags did not deploy & several media reports along with the police statement also suggest the same. But the videography of the damaged car shows green covers on the windows suggesting that airbags were deployed.
Importance of Seat Belts
Cyrus Mistry & Jahangir Pandole were seated at the rear with no seatbelts. Police stated that error of judgement along with overspeeding caused the accident where the frontal occupants wearing seatbelts survived.
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Every now and then, incidents like these prove how crucial seat belts are as a safety feature in life & death situations. While wearing seatbelts is necessary for India, it is never taken seriously for the rear passengers resulting in such mishaps so that we don’t lose more lives.
How safe are rear seats?
Jessica Jermakian, Senior Research Engineer, IIHS, stated that for most adults, the rear seat is safer than the front only when the seat belts are buckled up. There is still a denial among people despite knowing the importance of seatbelts. In our country, the lack of awareness & enforcement results in people not wearing seatbelts at the rear.
Studies have proved that the human body suffers G-forces as high as 30G during accidents which toss the body around, causing injuries. A video from IIHS: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showcased what rear passengers go through during an accident, highlighting the importance of rear seat belts.