New law passed for under three-year-old passengers

2015-04-30 13:59
PHOTO: sourced

It is compulsory for three-year-old children to be buckled up.

PHOTO: sourced It is compulsory for three-year-old children to be buckled up.

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AS reports of carnage on the roads over the Easter holidays hit the headlines a sad fact which comes through regularly is the number of young children who lose their lives.

The National Transport Act has been amended in an effort to make it safer for young children. As from 1 May it will be compulsory for children under the age of three to be buckled up with appropriate child restraints.

Until now, wearing seat belts has been compulsory for older children and adults, not for children under the age of three.

Appropriate safety seats and booster seats have also not been required, and there have been no rules against children older than three sitting in the front seat.

Now the Department of Transport has published amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations 2000 under the National Road Traffic Act, 1996.

Transport and public works spokesman Siphesihle Dube has been reported as saying penalties for offenders will be determined, following the submission of recommendations to district chief magistrates for consideration and approval.

“If you are not strapped in and you are in an accident, you are likely to be brain damaged. Besides personal suffering, this is a huge cost to the state in terms of medical care and lifelong care.”

Given this, seat belts and child seats are a public issue, not a private concern.

According to the Medical Research Council, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths among under five-year-old children in South Africa, and most of these are children who are not buckled up.

Research in the United States has found that strapping babies into appropriate car seats reduces the risk of death in car crashes by 71%, among properly strapped in toddlers between one and four years old, this risk drops by 54%.

Booster seats cut the risk of serious injury by 45% for children aged between four and eight compared to seat belt use alone.

For drivers and front-seat passengers, wearing a seat belt halves the risk of fatal injury and cuts the risk by up to 75% for back-seat passengers, according to the World Health Organisation

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