With enhanced infrastructure, wide and upto 6-lane highways in India… long distance intercity travel by Deluxe buses are very common and we started enjoying these travel along with family, friends and alone and many features including AC buses adds to our great pleasure. Government focus is also shifting towards promoting this mass commuting mode to curb the congestion on the roads and controlling pollutions. I also feel traveller has accepted this mode due to enhanced Comfortable (but lesser than our passenger car?) Seats in place, and Bus travel mode is bound to grow multifold in coming days.
Past few months I wanted to write and raise this topic which relates to Passenger Safety in these Deluxe buses. To start with, I wish to make you aware with a simple fact that Indian Deluxe Bus Seats homologation norms are 180-deg opposite of European and other countries. I am specifically referring European countries as our most of Automotive Standards and Regulations (like AIS) are either copy or derived out of European (ECE) one.
To bring more insight to above fact… in Europe’s Deluxe Bus Seat, Seat Belts, one of the major Safety components for passenger safety, are mandatory and Homologations/ Approvals by responsible agencies are carried out accordingly where as in India, Seat Belts are neither part of Homologation/ Approval nor it is mandatory. This itself give room to think why European has and we do not?
Seat fitted with Belts warrants a RIGID seat which prevents occupant moving/ falling forward and hitting seat in front in case of sudden braking or accidents where as a FLEXIBLE seat helps in absorbing body Inertia by the seat in front during sudden braking or accidents. In Europe, we follow a RIGID seat concept and in India a FLEXIBLE one, and both are highly relevant from the Human Safety point. But we have to recognige in what Shape, Posture and Condition we use Deluxe Bus Seats?….A FULLY RECLINED (135-deg) Seat (which is a common posture during long distance travel specially in night) is a total contrary to the Indian assumptions. In fully Reclined conditions, Seats behaviour is RIGID, but without Seat belts it does not meet the Safety requirements. And, here we greately expose to higher degree of injuries or even life threat, in case of accidents or sudden braking.
So, question is what we should do to enhance Safety features in Deluxe Bus Seats? We have the clue from the European seats. Approx 2-dacade back when we copied European standards we copied only half which were relevant than but now we must bring them in total and must make 3-P Seat belts mandatory in Deluxe Bus Seats (similar to passenger cars) which will ensure Safety to occupants in both FORWARD (Normal) and FULLY Reclined conditions of seats. Sooner our agencies will work on this will be better and our travel will become more Safer.
As a responsible citizen I have taken first steps towards writing to concerned agency and expect their faster actions. This write is to create awareness on Safety. WE ALWAYS HOPE FOR THE BEST…..