Rear seat belts to become compulsory on Feb. 1


TAIPEI–Regulations demanding rear seat car passengers to wear seat belts will be implemented Feb. 1, with violators facing fines of between NT$1,500 (US$50) and NT$6,000, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

Drivers on city streets or highways will be fined NT$1,500 if their back seat passengers do not buckle up, the ministry said. For tollways and expressways, the fines range from NT$3,000 to NT6,000, it added. In the case of children aged between 4 and 12, or who weigh between 18 kg and 36 kg, the new regulation allows a grace period lasting until August 1, the ministry said. Taxi drivers are exempted from fines, as long as they remind back seat passengers to fasten their seat belts, the ministry said. Back seat passengers in vehicles such as ambulances are also exempt, the ministry said. The rule also does not apply to those who are advised by doctors not to wear a seat belt. The implementation of compulsory seat belt wearing for back seat passengers has been raised on several occasions in Taiwan, but the idea has drawn mixed opinions.

The call for the new regulation was brought up again after Nora Sun, a granddaughter of the Republic of China’s founding father Sun Yat-sen, died in Taipei early 2011 from severe injuries in a car crash. She was a back seat passenger and was not wearing a seat belt.