Wearing seatbelts in a motor vehicle will soon become compulsory, and those who fail to do so will be liable for a fine not exceeding Rs. 2,000, under the new Motor Traffic Act passed in Parliament on Friday.
The seatbelt ruling will apply only to new motor vehicles that are equipped with seatbelts, said Department of Motor Traffic commissioner B. Wijeratne.
Under the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Act of 2007, users of motor vehicles may be fined for causing air and noise pollution.
The new laws also cover the procedure for obtaining a revenue licence. According to the Act, revenue licences for motor vehicles may be issued by a licensing authority only after a certificate of fitness and an emissions certificate have been issued.
The new laws also stipulate that no person may manufacture, assemble, modify or change the construction of a motor vehicle in Sri Lanka except with the prior written permission of the Commissioner General.
The law says that the motor vehicle used should not cause danger, discomfort, annoyance or harm to any person in the vehicle or any person using the road, danger to any vehicle on the road, damage to any property on or adjourning the road.
Commissioner Mr. Wijeratne said the previous Motor Traffic Act goes back to 1951. “During the ’50s’ there were only about 80,000 vehicles on our roads. Today we have 3.2 million vehicles. It was definitely time for major amendments to the Motor Traffic Act,” he said.