One week’s time to tighten your seat belts

By Damith Wickremasekara

Police will give a week’s grace period for drivers to get used to the new seat belt rule which came into effect yesterday, a senior police officer said.

Deputy Inspector General Anura Senanayake said that after the grace period, the Police would strictly enforce the law. Those travelling on the front seat without a seat belt would be fined Rs. 1,000 for the first offence, Rs. 2000 for the second and Rs. 3,000 for the third. If a fourth offence is committed the driving licence would be suspended for three months. He said the police would hold talks with the Motor Traffic Commissioner to work out a system of recording the number of offences.

The DIG said those violating the law would not be fined on the spot but would have to come to courts to pay the fine. The Police had deployed special teams to educate drivers on the importance of wearing seat belts and were compelled to get tough after more than two decades of appeals had failed, he said.

Seat belt becomes law

The seat-belt ruling for vehicle passengers has finally become law, as of this weekend.“The law, which is designed to protect lives, is in effect,” said K. Arasaratnam, Senior Superintendent of Police and Director Traffic, Police Headquarters. “We have noticed that occupants of font seats do not always wear the belt. The seat belt definitely helps to protect lives.”

SSP Arasaratnam said almost half of the fatalities in road accidents involved the driver of the vehicle or the front-seat passenger. Last year, there were 2,721 road accident fatalities, and of these 1,203 were the driver or the front-seat passenger. Statistics show that every four hours one person is killed on the road and more than 100 accidents happen across the country.

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