The government has asked online retail giant Amazon to stop selling devices designed to disable car seatbelt alarms, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters, citing potential safety risks.
Though the sale of the metal clips is not illegal, such devices and broader road safety issues have come under closer scrutiny after Indian tycoon Cyrus Mistry died in a car crash at the weekend.
Local media reported that Mistry wasn’t wearing a seat belt, reigniting the road safety debate in the world’s fourth-largest car market.
In an interview in which Mr Gadkari discussed planned safety measures, the minister said the metal clips available on Amazon are inserted in seatbelt slots to bypass the alarm that typically keeps pinging when seatbelts are not in use while a car is being driven.
“People buy clips from Amazon to evade wearing seatbelts. We have sent a notice to Amazon to stop (selling these),” Mr Gadkari said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a mail for comment.
Mr Gadkari said that vehicle accidents killed about 150,000 people in India in 2021. The World Bank last year said that India had a death on its roads every four minutes.
India also plans to make seatbelt alarms mandatory for rear seats, not only for the driver and front passenger seats, Mr Gadkari said.
Amazon’s India website on Wednesday had several listings for small metal clips described as products that can “eliminate” seatbelt alarms across car variants and models. The devices were priced from as little as 249 rupees ($3.12).