Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Seatbelt law grace period announced

SIX MONTHS TO BUCKLE UP:A ministry official said that taxi drivers would not be fined as long as they had fully informed their customers about the seatbelt requirement

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

A six-month grace period will be implemented before backseat passengers in sedans who fail to wear a seatbelt are penalized, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday.

The requirement for backseat passengers to wear a belt is stipulated in Article 31 of the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例), which was passed by the legislature last month. It was officially promulgated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earlier this month.

Lin Fu-shan (林福山), a section chief at the ministry’s Department of Railways and Highways, said while the Executive Yuan had yet to announce the exact date when the policy would come into force, the ministry expected this would occur in the second half of this year.

However, passengers will be given a grace period of six months to a year before police fine them for failing to buckle up.

Adults and teenagers over the age of 12 will have a six-month grace period, he said. After that period expires, passengers in the backseat who do not put on their seatbelts would be fined NT$1,500 on regular roads or between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000 on freeway and expressways.

The act also requires drivers to install booster seats for passengers under the age of 12. Drivers would have a one-year grace period before they are fined for failing to abide by the new regulation, Lin said.

Lin said booster seats must be attached firmly to car seats, in much the same way as a child safety seat. Booster seats must be installed if it is determined that a regular seatbelt would be too close to a child’s head or neck.

Meanwhile, Lin said taxi drivers would not be fined if they had fully informed their customers about the seatbelt requirement, adding that they are also not obliged to install booster seats.

Lin said the ministry would provide taxi drivers with free stickers reminding passengers to wear a seatbelt.

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