Government tightens up seat-belt law

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Government tightens up seat-belt law

Beginning next year, bus and taxi passengers who don’t buckle up will face the prospect of a fine - or a long walk.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced yesterday that as of January, bus and taxi drivers will have the right to refuse rides to passengers who do not fasten their seat belts. The legal revision applies to express buses, chartered buses and taxis.

The current law requires passengers to be belted in only when traveling on expressways or driveways. Bus and taxi drivers who don’t enforce the regulation can be fined up to 30,000 won ($24).

The revision holds that passengers must fasten their seat belts regardless of whether they are on a highway or country road, and increases the fine to 100,000 won, and twice that amount if the drivers do not tell their passengers to buckle up or operate a vehicle with defective seat belts.

Go Chil-jin, head of the ministry’s transportation department, cited a fatal bus crash that killed 17 senior citizens in Gyeongju last year and injured 14 more as the reason behind the crackdown.

“Nearly all of the 17 victims were not wearing seat belts,” he said. “We must enforce the seat belt law for public safety.”


By Kang Kap-saeng [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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