Fasten your belts or face fines

By Damith Wickremasekara

Vehicle-seat-belt laws are to be enforced with immediate effect and offenders will face fines ranging from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 4,000, Police Traffic Chief Lucky Peiris said yesterday.

He said the law would apply to old vehicles also and, therefore, owners of such vehicles which did not have seat belts would have to fix them.

Senior Superintendent Peiris said that unlike some other offences where spot fines were imposed allowing motorists to pay the fine and collect the licenses from the police station, in this case offenders would be produced in courts where the fine will be imposed.

According to regulations, first time offenders will face a fine of between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000 and second time offenders between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 3,000. Thereafter the fine will be between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 4,000.

The Traffic Chief said regulations were gazetted early this year and were not implemented because some of the older vehicles did not have seat belts. However police have decided to introduce it to the old vehicles as well and it would apply to all passengers.

“We have decided to enforce the law due to the increase in traffic accidents, where deaths or injuries were caused largely because the passengers had not fastened their seat belts,” he said.

“One of the main reasons for the increase in fatal accidents in Sri Lanka is that the drivers do not use the seat belt. If the seat belt is worn the chance of an accident turning into a fatal one could be reduced,” said Director Accident Service of the Colombo National Hospital Dr. U.P Ariyawansa.
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