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Motorists urged to learn about new seatbelt legislation

 

20/Sep/2010

By Nikki Hutchinson, Eastern Reporter

Comments: 1 reader has left a comment

Corinne Scudder, with her six-month-old daughter Abby, discusses the new restraint laws with Sen Sgt Patricia Lagan. Picture: Dominique Menegaldo.  www.communitypix.com.au

MOTORISTS are urged to educate themselves about the changes to the new seatbelt legislation to come into force next week.

West Metropolitan Traffic Senior Sergeant Patricia Lagan said that from Friday, October 1, police would issue $500 fines and four demerit points to those who did not comply.

An Office of Road Safety  spokesman said the new laws meant babies up to six months old must be secured in a backwards-facing child restraint. Children from six months to four years old had to be in a child restraint with an in-built harness.

Children from four to seven years old must be in a forwards-facing child restraint or booster seat with a seatbelt or child safety harness.

Those aged seven and older can be restrained in an adult seatbelt.

The new laws also mean children aged under four must not be seated in the front of vehicles having two or more rows of seats.

Sen Sgt Lagan said the purpose of the new laws was to ensure children travelled safely in vehicles.
“Adult seatbelts and front seatbelts can injure children in crashes,” she said.

“These new laws provide our children the best opportunity of surviving a crash with minimal injuries through being in an appropriate child restraint and sitting in a rear seat where possible.

She said front-seat airbags were an example of how vehicle seats were not designed for children.

“These can be very dangerous to children travelling in the front seat,” Sen Sgt Lagan said.

“Where they would deploy into an adult’s chest, they will hit a child in the face, causing injuries similar to being punched in the face.

“Similarly seatbelts can injure a child because their body is a completely different shape to that of an adult.”

For more information about the new legislation, go to the Office of Road Safety’s website at www.ors.wa.gov. au.

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