New child seatbelt laws

By Staff Writer
New regulations are being introduced to the National Road Traffic Act, which will see parents being issued with heavy fines if children under the age of three are not strapped into a car seat.

This is according to a report on Eye Witness News, stating that Minister Dipuo Peters will be implementing the regulations by 1 May this year.

“The driver of a motor vehicle operated on a public road shall ensure that an infant traveling in such a motor vehicle is seated on an appropriate child restraint,” state the regulations.

However, these regulations were first penned in October, 2014.
Reportedly for the next month, before the new traffic law comes into effect, the Department of Traffic will be launching awareness campaigns across the country.

Effectiveness of seatbelts

Arrive Alive has said in a report that “a review of research on the effectiveness of seatbelts found that their use reduces the probability of being killed by 40–50% for drivers and front seat passengers and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.”

Furthermore, Arrive Alive stated that the correct use of children seats, for children between the age of zero and four, can reduce the need for hospitalisation by 69%.

“The risk of death for infants is reduced by 70%, and that for children aged 1–4 years by 47–54%,” said Arrive Alive.

The way child seats work

Arrive Alive has four points on how child seats work when in an accident:
  • They reduce the risk of contact with the interior of the vehicle, such as hitting the dashboard, or back seat, or they reduce how severe the injuries can be, if this does happen,
  • The child seats, and the restraints distribute the forces of a crash over the strongest parts of the child’s body, which is different for that of an adult,
  • They stop the child from being thrown out of the vehicle, through the windows, or doors, if the impact is serious enough, and
  • Prevent injury to other occupants of the vehicle. For example in a frontal crash, unbelted rear-seated passengers can be catapulted forward and hit other occupants.

*At the time of publication, the Department of Transport had not responded to requests for comment. 

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