Wear seat belt to ease post-accident procedures

Wearing seat belt while driving may not guarantee you a no-accident journey but the seat belt along with airbags can certainly assure you of your safety if you meet with an accident, according to the Royal Oman Police (ROP).

Besides, the post-accident procedures would be easier if you are a law-abiding driver. Else you’ll have to face charges of reckless driving in addition to many other legal formalities before you get the motor insurance, the insurance companies agreed.

Every motor insurance policy stipulates the insured should obey the motor vehicle rules and drive safe.

“There will be a fine for not wearing seat belt if one meets with an accident and causing fatality to himself, to others or to public or private properties,” a senior ROP official has said.

“If no airbags were inflated due to the impact of the accident, he can write to the company for their explanation regarding the non-opening and if he is found not wearing the seat belt, the ROP can take action against him if he has caused death or disability to the third person,” said Doctor J Retnakumar, an insurance expert.

His compensation will depend on the proximate cause or immediate cause of the accident. If he has not worn seat belt, it is a clear case of violation of traffic rules.

“As far as the justice to the victim is concerned, he can sue the vehicle manufacturer for any malfunction suspected as airbags didn’t work and he can claim the damages as well,” says PM Jabir, an insurance specialist and social worker.

“The general practice is that if there is a technical malfunction, the company would inspect the entire batch of vehicles manufactured at that time and recall or cancel them,” adds Jabir.

If the insurance company declines to pay compensation, the victim can approach the CMA and the court of law of he still feels justice is not served.

But before initiating the course of law or approaching the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), one should know that unless it is a case in which the consumer is cheated by a seller, no action can be initiated by the Authority.

“It is the mostly technical issue which none can give the reason behind non-performing airbags unless it’s investigated by competent authorities,” an official at the PACP told the Observer.

“If anyone has a case like this, he should file a case and get the company and request the matter be inspected by an expert. Finally, the court of law would decide why the airbags didn’t get inflated and decide upon the culprits and punishment as well,” the PACP official added.