Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has asked its drivers in India to ensure seat belts in the back seats of their vehicles are accessible to passengers and working, days after a local business tycoon was killed in a car crash.
The move comes amid growing pressure for road safety in India, the world’s fourth-largest auto market. Earlier in 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 while sitting in the back.
“To avoid fines or complaints from drivers, please ensure seat belts in the back seats are accessible and functional,” Uber said in an advisory to its drivers on Tuesday, which was seen by Reuters.
A source with direct knowledge also said Uber is conducting checks at airports to ensure drivers comply with seat belt regulations.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Its Indian rival Ola, which is backed by SoftBank Group, has also sent out advisories to drivers in recent weeks to enforce seat belt rules, a company representative told Reuters.
It comes as the government is also trying to push through a series of measures to improve road safety in a country that has the deadliest roads in the world.
The World Bank said last year that India has a road death every four minutes.
India already has rules mandating rear seat passengers to wear seat belts, but few follow them. The enforcement is also poor despite the stipulated fine of Rs. 1000 rupees for non-compliance.
In most cases, car and taxi owners put covers on the seat belts of their back seats, making them inaccessible for use.
Uber told drivers in its advisory to make sure rear seat belts are on, adding that “if the belt is hidden under the seat cover, please remove the cover.”
The Indian government has also said it wants carmakers to install a rear seat belt alarm system to enforce their use and to mandate six airbags in all cars.