Police Hold Off On Fines For Drivers Not Wearing Seatbelts

Source: Vientiane Times

Drivers in Vientiane can wait a little longer before traffic police start fining them for not wearing a seatbelt, as police say more adjustments are needed to refine the relevant legislation.

Director of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Youttaphong Souvannasing, told Vientiane Times yesterday that problems had surfaced on social media concerning fines being issued by traffic police in Hadxaifong district. The department had now ordered all Vientiane traffic police to stop fining road users who weren’t wearing a seatbelt until the regulations were clarified.

“Police in Hadxaifong district fined some road users for not wearing a seatbelt because they were complying with the main traffic law, but our department is compiling details of the fines and other related regulations before putting them into action. So we told our staff to temporarily stop fining drivers until we’ve finished this work,” he explained.

“Actually, it is a fact that all drivers and their passengers should always wear a seatbelt to minimise injury in the event of a road accident. The precise fines will be made public and issued to rule breakers in the near future but we want to make the regulation more detailed and help to protect road users.”

At this time of the year there are many festivals, especially rocket festivals, when people drink too much and then drive home, which causes a lot of accidents. These accidents have killed at least four people each week over the past four weeks, he said.

Most of the drivers involved in accidents were not wearing a seatbelt and were drunk, as well as driving too fast. Wearing a seatbelt all the time would help to save lives, he stressed.

“We are now trying to enforce measures against rule-breakers more strictly as we want to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries. It’s not difficult for drivers to wear a seatbelt as one is installed on every seat,” Lt Col Youttaphong said.

Drivers entering Thailand from Vientiane put on their seatbelts to comply with Thai traffic regulations, so why, when driving in Laos, do they take such a cavalier attitude and refuse to wear one?, he asked.

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.

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