Seat belt and car phone laws are useless if they're not enforced

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 February, 2010, 12:00am

At my home in Pok Fu Lam there is a steady stream of school minibuses, four times a day. Many are fitted with child seat belts but I am lucky if I see one child in each bus using them. Why should they? What example is given to them? My home is served by a green minibus route and a number of them are also fitted with passenger seat belts. I use the service at least twice a day and I seldom see more than one other passenger using a seat belt. Why should they? What example is given to them?

The week before last, as a pedestrian, I was waiting at the junction of Queen's Road Central and Ice House Street, but was unable to use the crossing as the junction was blocked by a Mercedes. It was sitting on the yellow hatching throughout a complete light sequence change and, while the driver was wearing a seat belt (but using a hand-held telephone), the three passengers - a child of about five who was standing in the front seat, and two adults in the rear - were all unrestrained. So there we have it. Children not using the provided seat belts in school buses; the average person not using the provided seat belts in minibuses; the wealthy not using them in their cars.

Why not make it mandatory to wear seat belts when provided? But I forgot, their usage is mandatory when fitted in minibuses and cars. Perhaps readers could be informed by the relevant government department how many fixed penalties were issued in 2009 for:

Passengers not wearing seat belts when their use was mandatory;

The use of a hand-held mobile phone while driving; and

Entering a hatched area at a road junction and stopping upon it because the exit was not clear.

It is easy to legislate but if legislation is not actively brought to the public's attention, then respected and comprehensively policed, it is worthless. And people will continue to be injured, maimed or killed.

Alan George, Pok Fu Lam