TRANSIT noted this letter from Gim Teh of Melbourne, who comments on a simple, recognized road safety feature – which is unfortunately not available in many of the taxis on the road – taxis which are inspected regularly for safety!
All taxis must have functioning seat belts (The Star)
Thursday January 27, 2011
IT is worrying that some Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers deliberately choose to disregard passenger safety.
My friends and I are often in KL taxis where rear seat belts are rendered unusable. They have been deliberately tied away or the pre-tension bits have been disabled.
These taxis ignore evidence showing a direct link between failure to wear seat belts and accidents causing death and injuries.
For example, findings show that for the 12 months to September last year, 1,084 people in Malaysia died in car accidents because they were not wearing seat-belts (The Star, Jan 24). Those injured probably number about two to three times those killed.
It is always sad for people to die or suffer serious injuries in accidents. It’s a tragedy if it is because taxi drivers deliberately prevented them from wearing safety belts.
Deliberately disabling a rear seat-belt is like cutting the ropes of a safety parachute for a hang glider. It can be a criminal act if it results in death or grievous bodily harm to the passenger who cannot rely on the disabled safety-belt.
In an appropriate case, such a taxi driver – and the taxi company – may also be at risk of being sued for negligence.
Also, through the doctrine of subrogation, insurance companies that paid out compensation claims to such passengers are entitled to recover compensation from the taxi driver and taxi owner.
The Transport Ministry should investigate this deliberate evasion of seat-belt law.
The availability and use of properly functioning 3-point seat belts is recognize as the most important road safety feature that can be included in a car.
More importantly, since the Road Transport Department has mandated the use of front and rear seat belts, it should be obvious that these should be available in our taxis!
If there is one thing that SPAD could take action on, starting February 2nd, then this is the one.
That is why TRANSIT calls on SPAD to ensure that properly functioning seatbelts are available in each and every licensed taxi in Malaysia. And TRANSIT calls on the public to not enter a taxi that does not have functioning seat belts. After all, if the seat belts are not functioning who knows what else might not be working properly!