Use of seatbelts in back seats may be made compulsory
By Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: February 24, 2008, 23:29
Dubai: Police are working with the Interior Ministry to issue a law that considers making not wearing seatbelts in the back of a car an offence, a senior police official announced on Sunday.
Brigadier Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of Dubai Police's Traffic Department, did not elaborate on the issue, but stressed the importance of wearing seatbelts at all times. Currently, only front seat passengers need to wear seatbelts by law.
Police issued around 25,520 offences for not wearing seatbelts in 2007 with an average of 2,126 offences monthly. Brigadier Al Zafein announced the launch of a two-week awareness campaign on wearing seatbelts which began yesterday.
He said awareness regarding wearing seatbelts had started going down and the number of motorists who now wore seatbelts was only 50 per cent. Brigadier Al Zafein revealed that 332 people were killed in traffic accidents last year and it is estimated that 40 per cent of those victims in collisions were not wearing seatbelts.
He pointed out that 16 per cent of people who were killed in accidents where cars flipped over in 2007 were not wearing seatbelts. The fine for not wearing seatbelts is Dh100 and three black points. The law fines the motorist and the passenger sitting next to the motorist.
"We are coordinating with the Interior Ministry to issue a law that considers not wearing seatbelts in the back seat a punishable offence," Brigadier Al Zafein said.
He said the first week of the campaign would focus on spreading awareness on the importance of wearing seatbelts and the importance of using child car safety seats.
The second week will focus on road control and issuing fines to offenders.
"Seatbelts do not prevent accidents but they do reduce the damage to the lowest levels," Brigadier Al Zafein said.
He pointed out that traffic police issued 14 fines to motorists who allowed children under 10 to sit in the front of cars.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr Jasim Mirza, Director of Dubai Police's Security Awareness Department, said the focus of the campaign would be on educating schoolchildren.
Dubai Police's Traffic Department launched the campaign in coordination with the Santis HSE Group, a Global Health, Safety and Environment Consultancy and Gargash Enterprises.
Santis HSE Group and Gargash Enterprises officials will take the campaign to schools, streets and shopping malls in Dubai to promote safety and give out complimentary child car seats and car safety packages.
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