Children remain at risk while officials dither

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the letter by H. L. Cheng, for the Commissioner for Transport, headlined 'No proof belt-up policy would help children' (South China Morning Post, November 15).

It seems peculiar that the Commissioner would move on legislation requiring seat belts in mini-buses but hedge on seat belts in school buses. In both cases people required to use seat belts are of different heights and yet it is assumed, as it is in taxis, that all persons can use these belts safely.

I expect that most parents use portable belts for their children in the absence of any other viable option regardless of its original purpose. Surely a seat belt could be designed to be built into the seats of buses at the time of manufacturing that would provide for the different heights of children. Hong Kong should set a standard of safety the world could adopt instead of simply citing statistics about what other governments neglect to do. Are Hong Kong children supposed to feel safer, because North America does not have federal laws requiring school buses to have seat belts? Escorts may keep children in their seats, but are of little help when there is an accident as they are likely to have been hurt themselves.

There can be no price put on the lives of our children. While the Hong Kong Government continues to procrastinate on this issue, our children remain in serious jeopardy.