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Regional News of Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Source: Graphic Online

Seat belts now compulsory for commercial cars

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) will, with effect from September 2014, not register new vehicles meant for public passenger service which are without seatbelts fitted to each seat.

Besides, the DVLA will, from March 2015, not renew the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles which do not have seatbelts fitted to each seats.

The acting Chief Executive of the DVLA, Mr Rudolph Beckley, who announced this at a stakeholders’ meeting yesterday, said the decision not to register commercial vehicles without seatbelts was in conformity with Section 119 of the Road Traffic Regulation Legislative Instrument (LI) 2180.

The LI 2180, which was passed by Parliament in 2012, lays emphasis on the use of seatbelts.

It gives a two-year grace period for implementation.

Section 119 (1) states: “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is fitted with a seatbelt.”

Mr Beckley said the implementation of the LI on the use of seatbelts was to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries associated with vehicle accidents by 2020.

He said his outfit had sent a directive on the new measure to all DVLA registration points and motor firms for compliance.

Present at the meeting were the Executive Director of the National Road Safety Commission, Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah; the Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), ACP Angwubutoge Awuni, and representatives of commercial transport operators.

The transport operators included the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), the Progressive Transport Owners Association (PROTOA) and the Tiger Transport Association.

Mr Beckley said phase two of the exercise would focus on vehicles already being used for public passenger service.

He said the DVLA would concentrate on the supply, installation and training of identified personnel in the fitting of seatbelts in vehicles.

In that regard, he said the DVLA was in discussion with the Ghana National Association of Garages to identify garages to be trained for the seatbelt installation process.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said wearing seatbelts could save lives and prevent or minimise injury to occupants of vehicles.

Therefore, she said, it was crucial for the DVLA to enforce the LI on the registration of vehicles to ensure that only vehicles fitted with seatbelts operated public transport.

ACP Awuni said the MTTD would enforce the law on the fitting of seatbelts in commercial vehicles because “seatbelts save lives."

He, therefore, asked public transport owners not to resort to seeking intervention from political leaders when they were arrested for non-compliance with the directive to fit seatbelts in their vehicles.

Representatives of the transport operators welcomed the new directive on seatbelts but asked the DVLA and the NRSC to embark on a sustained campaign to educate people on the new directive.

They expressed reservation about the ability of the DVLA to make enough seatbelts available for sale without encountering any shortages.

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