Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Fines introduced to promote belt use in rear seats of cars

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

As early as March next year, drivers in vehicles on freeways where rear seat passengers are not wearing seat belts will be fined NT$3,000 (US$92) to NT$6,000.

The measure, which passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan yesterday as an amendment to Section 31 of the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Law (道路交通管理處罰條例), was sponsored by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Tsiao-long (陳朝龍).

close encounter

On the way to an election campaign event in May last year, Chen's car smashed into a telegraph pole.

"I wasn't wearing a safety belt because I mistakenly thought that sitting in the back seat is safer," Chen said. "If I had been, I would not have suffered such serious damage to my face or shattered my leg."

Since then Chen has campaigned to regulate the mandatory use of seat belts in the rear seat of cars.

The existing laws already require seat belts to be used for the driver and front-seat passenger of the vehicle.

Hu's accident

Chen's amendment was stuck in the legislature's procedure committee until the car crash earlier this month in which Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (胡志強) wife Shaw Hsiao-ling (邵曉鈴) was critically injured.

Hu and Shaw were also on their way to a campaign event, and Shaw was sitting in the rear and not wearing a seat belt.

"I'm very sorry for Shaw's injuries," Chen said. "But her accident made this amendment a priority for lawmakers and it passed into law very smoothly."

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