Wed, Aug 17, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taxi drivers given ‘Buckle Up’ stickers to help relieve them of accident liability

Staff Writer, with CNA

Bilingual stickers reading “Buckle up or pay up” are seen on the back of front-seat headrests in a taxi in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA, Directorate General of Highways

The Directorate-General of Highways introduced a sticker yesterday that puts the onus on passengers sitting in back seats of taxis to fasten their seat belts or pay a fine.

According to a new law that took effect on Aug. 1, taxi drivers will be fined between NT$1,500 and NT$6,000 if their rear seat passengers are found not wearing seat belts and they were not informed before their ride of the necessity of using a seat belt.

There is a grace period — until Feb. 1 next year — before violators are penalized.

However, if passengers are informed by the driver to buckle up, but they decide not to, then the passengers would face a fine of NT$4,500, the agency said.

The new stickers, which read “Buckle Up or Pay Up,” were designed primarily to put the responsibility of wearing a seat belt when riding in taxis in the hands of the passenger.

The agency is recommending that taxi drivers adhere the stickers to the paneling facing the front passenger’s seat, as well as on the back of the front-seat headrests so they can be easily spotted.

By placing the stickers in those places, the drivers would meet their responsibility to inform the passengers of the law, the agency said.

The issue of wearing seat belts in the backseat gained national attention when Nora Sun (孫穗芬), a granddaughter of Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), was killed in a freeway car accident in January. She was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Former Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Chao-lung (陳朝龍) first proposed the amendment to the Act Governing Punishments for Violations of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例) in 2006 after Shaw Hsiao-ling (邵曉鈴), the wife of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) was severly injured in a crash on a freeway near Tainan.

Shaw, who had not been wearing a seat belt, was thrown from a minivan, and lost her spleen and part of her left arm as a result of the accident.

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