Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Non-Compliance of Malaysia Motor Vehicles (Safety Seatbelts) Rules 1978

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Non-Compliance of Malaysia Motor Vehicles (Safety Seatbelts) Rules 1978

Article excerpt

Introduction

Road traffic related injuries are fast becoming a major worldwide public health concern. High income and developed countries have made great strides to address these problems unlike many developing or lower income countries, which just do not have the resources to address this problem (1). Road traffic related accidents is fast becoming one of the main reasons of injuries and fatalities in Malaysia. Worldwide every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that close to one million people are fatally injured, three million people are severely disabled for life and thirty millions are injured in road traffic accidents (2).Cars, motorcycles, lorries and busses typically make up the majority of traffic on Malaysian roads. It is estimated that there will be over 20 fatalities per 100,000 people by the year 2020 in Malaysia (3). A Head injury is the major reason behind these fatal- ities in car accidents where it makes up of more than 56.4% of these fatalities. With this reason in mind, the most important injury control strategy for people in cars is the restraint of their head and body in its initial position. Thus, one of the most effective and successful ways to reduce accident fatalities in Malaysia is with the constant use of seat belts by the car occupants (4). Wearing a seat belt has been a proven intervention for safety on the road, as seat belts are able to reduce and con- trol the number of fatal and injuries among car occupants. Vehicle accidents can never be totally wiped out. However, the use of protective measures such as seat belts will help to reduce the number of death and injuries during accidents (5). The use of a seatbelt can reduce the risk of fatality among front passengers by 45% to 50% (6).

Seatbelts has been recognised all over the world as one of the most effective means of reducing the risks of fatal and non-fatal injuries during acci- dents (7, 8). The Motor Vehicles (Safety Seatbelts) Rules 1978 is the governing law for the use of seat belts in vehicles in Malaysia (6). The Malaysian seat belt laws were enacted in the 1970s to try to bring down the severity of injuries faced by car drivers and passengers when they meet in an acci- dent (4). Back in the sixties Malaysia, many of the car manufacturers were not yet including seat belts as a standard in the cars that were sold. Instead, seat belts were mainly put into cars as an option. As such, many people chose not include the seat belt, as they did not want to pay extra money for their cars. The government realising this, decided to enact the mandatory seat belt law to force the car manufacturers to install seat belts into their cars and to force car owners to use their seat belts that came with their new cars. As time has passed occupant safety has come to the forefront of both governments and vehicle manufacturers (6). The Malaysian Motor Vehicles (Safety Seatbelts) Rules 1978 states that cars manufactured on November 1st 1977 onwards had to have seat belt fixed to the front seats. It also states that cars registered from 1st January 1967 and the 31st October 1977 had to have seat belts retrofitted to the front seats (9). The government ran campaigns in the news- papers, televisions and radio to educate the public on the use of seat belts in their cars. Soon, all new cars had seat belts and the cars manufactured be- fore the 1960s were being phased out. As such in the 21st century today almost 35 years after the seat belt law was introduced in Malaysia, all cars have at least the front seats with seat belts with many cars manufactured from the 90s onwards having rear seat belts as well. Recently the gov- ernment of Malaysia introduced the rear seat belt law (6). There is also overwhelmingly positive evi- dence that whenever a country passed the manda- tory seat belt law, the rate of deaths and injuries in automobile accidents reduced drastically (10)

Close to 40% of all vehicles on the road are made up of cars. …

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