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Buckle up or pay the fine

Buckle up or pay the fine


Up to 95 per cent of motorists are adhering to the seat belt and helmet regulations, and the head of the traffic department of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is of the view that only people who don’t believe in order will rebel against the new rules.{{more}}

The seat belt and helmet regulation was passed in 2006, but on June 1st, this year, police declared the full implementation of the law.

Speaking to SEACHLIGHT on Wednesday, four days after the implementation, head of the traffic department Superintendent Bertram Cumberbatch said that he was pleased with the cooperation that his officers have been getting from motorists.

He also defended the police’s decision to announce to motorists that the police will be taking it light on them for the first two months after the enforcement of the law. He said that it was said to ease persons’ anxiety.

“Persons are not accustomed to wearing seatbelts…We have to be a bit light handed for now and gradually pick it up,” he said.

“Some people started to panic. We didn’t want people to panic,” he also said.

He, however, said that some people may be charged during the first two months; those who are warned repeatedly and some who display a negative attitude when cautioned by the police.

A person can be fined up to $2,000 for failing to wear a seatbelt or a helmet in the case of motor bicycle and pedal bicycle users, and up to $5,000 for subsequent offences. A fine of up to $5,000 can also be imposed on someone who doesn’t use a proper child restraint system when carrying a child in a vehicle.

An unscientific survey conducted by SEARCHLIGHT between 12:10 and 12:25 p.m. on Wednesday, at the pedestrian crossing near to the Cenotaph in Kingstown, revealed that the majority of motorists are truly adhering to the rule, but some are still not buckling up.

A total of 95 vehicles, including motor bicycles passed by, and 81 per cent or 77 of the riders were buckled up or wearing helmets, while 14 per cent ignored the rules. There was also a small number (about 5 per cent) who obeyed partially; that is, one person was wearing a seatbelt while another in a front seat of the vehicle wasn’t, or in one case where the rider of a motor bicycle had on his helmet, but not his pillion rider.