Failure to wear seat belts was responsible for 53 percent of the fatalities in traffic accidents on freeways in the first seven months of the year, the National Freeway Bureau said yesterday.
The ratio is more than double the figure for the whole of last year, when people not wearing seat belts accounted for only 25 percent of total deaths, the bureau said.
From January to July this year, 45 people died in traffic accidents on freeways, 24 of whom were thrown from their vehicles because they had not buckled up, the bureau said.
Of the 24 victims, 11 were drivers and front-seat passengers, and 13 were rear-seat passengers, it added.
A closer look at the traffic data showed that the overall fatality rate among passengers who did not wear seat belts was 3.6 times higher than among those who wore seat belts. Among rear-seat passengers, the fatality rate of passengers without seat belts was 2.7 times higher than those who wore seat belts, the bureau said.
Drivers and passengers who fail to buckle up may be fined NT$1,500 when traveling on regular roads, and between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000 when traveling on freeways and expressways.