Commercial drivers resist new policy on seat belt

DriversCommercial drivers say they will resist the implementation of a new law that makes it mandatory for them to fix seatbelts for each passenger.

Parliament passed a legislative instrument two years ago to help deal with the high rate of road accidents in the country.

It is expected to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries associated with vehicle accidents by 2020.

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

As implementation begins today, DVLA will not register new commercial vehicles if they do not have seatbelts fitted for each passenger.

But some drivers are not happy about this new law.

Some of them told Joy News it is impossible to have such law implemented at least in 2014.

They are asking for more time in order for them to be able to implement the policy.

The General Secretary of the GPRTU Alhaji Baako said: “Our members need sufficient time for this seat belt policy. There is also the need for education down to the grass root so that people will understand it.”

He blamed the DVLA for not providing the seat belts to the commercial drivers and for failing to provide the necessary education and workshops where these vehicles will be fitted with the seat belts

When asked why they failed to provide seat belts to their members two years after the promulgation of the law.

Alhaji said it was not their duty to provide the seat belts. “It is not impossible. We have all this rickety vehicles in the system. Even the new ones that are being cleared at the port do not have the seat belts,” he said.

But an Chief Executive of the DVLA Dr Rudolph Berkely said they have come up with a framework to successfully implement the policy.

He explained the implementation involves two phases- the first phase is not to register new vehicles which have no seat belts and the second phase is to provide seat belts to vehicles already in the system but which have no seat belts.

He said the DVLA has set itself from March 1, 2015 to implement the second phase of the project.

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