Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rear Seatbelt Dilemma

The Star

SUNGAI PETANI: Parents with four children are confused as to how they are to seat all their children into the back of the car without being caught for overloading.

“We cannot leave a child behind in the house when going out, neither can we afford to buy another vehicle to adjust to the new requirement on rear seat belts,” lamented trader Nordin Ahmad from Bandar Perdana Jasmin.

Nordin, 44, drives an Iswara Aeroback and is worried how he, his wife and four children would fit into their car without running the risk of being stopped by a policeman.

Road Safety Department director-general Datuk Suret Singh has warned that motorists with more than three rear seat passengers could be fined for overloading.

“I am a low-income earner and have no other choice but to use only my Iswara for family travels. It is unfair to hold the driver responsible for ferrying more than three children in the rear seats,” said Nordin whose children ranged from seven to 13 years of age.

Restaurant operator Yeow Boon Fey, 44, from Taman Legenda Indah, said he would now have problems going out with his four children, aged between three and 15, his wife Yong Nyok Ching, 40, and mother Kong Yoke Mooi, 68.

“Tell me, what should I do? Should I buy another car or leave behind my mother or some of my children? I am confused.

“The authorities should be less rigid when imposing the regulations. We are not operating taxis but only want to take our family out in our car,” said Yeow, who has a Viva fitted with rear seat belts.

Kindergarten teacher Suzana Abdul Aziz, 38, from Taman Seri Jenaris, who also has four children, aged between five and 12, said although her family had a second car, they relied on their Iswara for balik kampung trips.

Mohd Desa Saidin, 42, a clerk at the National Registration Department in Kulim and married with four children aged between six and 13, said wearing rear seat belts was no guarantee that accidents would not endanger passengers’ lives.

“Even with all the safety measures, there are fatal accidents. What about accidents involving buses where many passengers die? Buses do not have safety belts,” he said.

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