Source: Vientiane Times
Too many drivers seem to believe that seatbelts are an unnecessary option on this side of the Mekong, but it may be time to think again as Vientiane traffic police gear up to enforce safety regulations and fine rule breakers 70,000 kip.
That is the warning to drivers from the Director of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Youttaphong Souvannasing.
Traffic police plan to fine drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from collisions, which are all too prevalent during the festive period of Lao New Year, Lt Col Youttaphong said.
Speaking to Vientiane Times on Friday, he said some police stations had already begun enforcing the measure, fining drivers who didn’t wear seatbelts after too many were seen ignoring the regulations.
“Traffic police have tried to educate road users about the regulations by explaining them whenever necessary,” he said.
“We are now trying to more strictly enforce the measures as we hope to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries.”
Drivers not wearing seatbelts will be fined 70,000 kip under Prime Minister’s Decree No. 188 on traffic, Lt Col Youttaphong said.
“We still need to closely work together with all traffic police to help them understand the ruling on issuing fines to drivers without seatbelts. We want to avoid complaints from the public or from drivers who don’t still understand or know about the regulations,” he added.
He discussed the recent case of a driver who was fined for not wearing a seatbelt by officers at the Km 15 police station in Hadxaifong district, and later posted a picture of the 70,000 kip fine on Facebook.
Police said that by fining the driver they were merely applying the decree, as they were legally obliged.
In some areas more time is needed to implement the measure to achieve public compliance, Lt Col Youttaphong said.
“It is not difficult for drivers to wear a seatbelt as one is installed on every seat,” he said.
“You can see drivers going from Vientiane to Thailand who slip on their seatbelts in order to comply with Thai traffic regulations. So why, when driving in Laos, do they take such a cavalier attitude and refuse to wear a seatbelt for safety?”
During Lao New Year in the middle of this month, Vientiane traffic officials will be on duty on the nation’s roadsides.
In Vientiane, some will be stationed on the outskirts such as on roads No. 13 south and north, Road No. 10 in Xaythany district, and 450 Year Road in Xaysettha district. Additional traffic police will patrol downtown and urban streets to maintain order.
Lt Col Youttaphong said there were more than 600 officials on active duty.
According to a report from the Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, in 2016 some 5,616 road accidents were recorded across the nation. These led to the deaths of 1,086 people, injured another 8,912, and damaged 10,305 vehicles leading to losses estimated at over 83 billion kip.
In 2015 some 5,571 road accidents were recorded, in which 995 people were killed with damage to vehicles and property amounting to over 85 billion kip.