Home / Home / #PehniKya? New Maruti Suzuki Safety Campaign Urges Use of Seat Belts


Maruti Suzuki PehniKya web

In a bid to further the use of safety belts in cars, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), the country’s leading passenger vehicle manufacturer, have unveiled a social campaign called #PehniKya? (or ‘Have you worn it?’) across India.

The aim of the campaign hope is to promote use of seat-belts in cars and enhance the safety of all occupants, whether seated at the front or in the rear. The worrying truth is that only 25 per cent of car occupants presently wear seat-belts regularly, according to a latest research survey conducted across 17 Indian cities, commissioned by MSIL. The survey results spelled out that the use of seat-belts is high in a few cities where enforcement is stringent, and appallingly low in the rest of the country.

Besides weak law enforcement, which accounts for 32 per cent of the responses, the key reasons for not wearing a seat-belt include lack of awareness of its benefits, the fear that wearing a seat belt will “negatively affect image” (27 per cent), it “ruins clothes” (25 per cent), that it is “not considered a safety device” (23 per cent), and that friends and family “do not wear it” (20 per cent). People listed one or more reasons, which is why the percentages are as they are listed here.

While the reasons are primarily lack of enforcement and mere ignorance, the truth is that seat-belts are the primary restraint system. Airbags are the secondary restraint system (SRS); a fact few people know and understand. One cannot rely on airbags alone to save a life, the appropriate way is to restrain oneself as securely as possible to enable the car’s crash structure to work as it has to – something that cannot work to its best ability if the occupants are not seated correctly.

While the use of child-seats is still in its infancy, there are various kinds of child-seats that work with ISOFIX anchors or even with seat-belts to secure your child firmly, yet comfortably. A child should ideally not be strapped into the front passenger seat, with either a front- or rear-facing child-seat. If they have to be, it is best to deactivate the passenger airbag.

As more passenger vehicles arrive equipped with airbags as standard to meet advanced safety norms laid down by the government, the use of seat-belts becomes even more critical for safety. If an occupant is not wearing a seat-belt, an airbag may cause more harm than good in the event of a crash.

Data collated by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) shows that non-wearing of seat-belts was reported in 5,638 accident deaths in the country in 2016. According to World Health Organization (WHO), seat-belts are the primary restraint system that can reduce the risk of fatality by as much as 45 to 60 per cent.

Managing Director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Kenichi Ayukawa, said: “The Indian Government is taking several measures to bring down accident fatalities and make roads safer for vehicle occupants and pedestrians. We support these efforts. Seat-belt is a primary safety system in a car and several studies show that its regular use can bring down injuries and fatalities in road accidents.  Through our social campaign, #PehniKya?, we want to persuade car users to follow this simple safety step. Based on the findings of our research, we believe that an effective communication campaign across platforms, together with strict enforcement, will convince car users to make seat-belt use a habit and support the government’s efforts for road safety.”

The #PehniKya? 360° social campaign aims to educate passenger vehicle users about the importance of seat-belts and their crucial role in preventing road fatalities and injuries. Through the campaign, Maruti Suzuki will sensitise people and break myths around seat belt usage. The messages will address concerns and reasons around seat-belt usage, encouraging a positive behavioural changes amongst car occupants. To create a higher impact, the campaign will leverage a variety of platforms including television, print, radio, digital and on-ground activations. In its first phase, the campaign will cover eight cities across India, including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Nagpur, and Indore.

We applaud this initiative, and hope to see more manufacturers and media take to advocating road safety. After all, rights come with duties and we are all responsible for the safety of one another.

Watch the #PehniKya? video here.


Story: Jim Gorde


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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