There is a need to strictly follow road safety rules and stringent implementation of traffic norms in order to bring down fatalities due to accidents in the country, Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO, Martin Schwenk said on Thursday.
With the death of former Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry in an accident involving a Mercedes-Benz vehicle earlier this month bringing back road safety issues on the forefront again, he said there is not much of a gap as far as regulations are concerned but enforcement needs to be stricter.
“If everyone would behave as per the regulation, we would already have a significant reduction in road fatalities, and that’s for two-wheeler, three-wheeler and four-wheeler,” Schwenk told PTI here on the sidelines of SIAM annual session.
He said the unfortunate death of Mistry has brought back “road safety on the agenda in a different way.”
“We have in India historically around one 1.5 lakh fatalities in a year on the roads,” he lamented.
The gap is not so much in the regulation part, he said adding, “it’s in the behavioral and in the enforcement of existing regulations, which both could significantly reduce the road fatalities in all modes of transportation to get down from the 1.5 lakh annual deaths on the Indian roads.”
He further said, “Behave as per the codes and enforce the codes.”
Asked about the safety of the company’s vehicles, he said, “Mercedes Benz has excelled not only on the product side, but also engaged a lot in creating the most safest vehicle and I will still say, we are at the forefront on safety on vehicles.”
Schwenk further said, “We are known for having superior safety standards and all of our cars for example, all of them have at least six airbags, some of them seven, nine and the Maybach has 13 airbags… we have all five star tested (for crash) vehicles.”
Specific to the Mistry accident, he said, “I’m very confident about the quality of our products, we have fully cooperated with the police.”
A global specialised product liability team has been involved in the investigation, Schwenk said adding a final report is awaited.
Mistry, 54, and his friend Jahangir Pandole were killed in the accident in the Palghar district of Maharashtra earlier this month.
Anahita Pandole, 55, who was driving the 2017 version of the 2017 GLC 220d 4MATIC was seriously injured. The GLC 220d 4MATIC comes with seven airbags overall.