“I lost my friend to a misconception. Most people think that the back-seat belts serve only a decorative purpose. In fact wearing them is as necessary as wearing front seat belts. They can save lives in the event of impacts,” Harsh Vardhan said before flying to Parli.

“Seat belts when worn correctly save lives. Research in the UK has shown that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. For those riding in the rear of vans and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) during a car crash, rear seat belts are 73 percent better at preventing fatalities. Also, children are likely to be buckled 92 percent of the time when adults in the car use seat belts as opposed to 72 percent of the time when adults are not using them,” Vardhan added.

Munde died on Tuesday after his car was hit by another vehicle at Prithviraj road-Tughlaq road roundabout in national capital. The autopsy report stated that the Union Minister suffered multiple internal injuries in the road mishap that caused cardiac arrest, leading to his death.

Munde was sitting in the back seat of his car when this untoward incident took place.

The damage to the Minister’s car was not great but the force of the throw-forward within the confined space of the car damaged the atlanto-axial joint in his neck and severely injured the spinal cord.

The blood vessels carrying blood supply to the brain stem (which is the seat of respiratory and cardiac centre) got disrupted and this became a cause for immediate cardiac and respiratory arrest. Besides, the liver was ruptured which caused profuse loss of blood, informed the Health Minister.

“I feel numbed by the realization that the nation has lost such a valuable mass leader and able minister with a proven track record in Maharashtra. I now realize the trauma of countless others whose near ones died in car crashes only because they had overlooked the importance of the seat belt,” Vardhan said.

“It is a fallacy that Mundeji could have been saved because he had been found sitting inside the car and not thrown out. Actually the damage to the human body is often greater when the victim is not ejected from the vehicle. Internal organs are badly damaged then and scientific tests have proved that wearing safety belts give them hope of survival,” Vardhan added.

The Health Minister observed that the level of ignorance of the utility of safety belts is alarming.

“Many car owners cover the back seats of their cars with attractive cloth or other material to give comfort. In the process the seat belts get concealed. This fallacy is doubtless causing a lot of accident deaths,” he said.

Vardhan stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will soon take the initiative to expose the people to safety protocols while driving.


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