KUALA LUMPUR – January 3, 2018: Although the 2-point lap seatbelt has been outlawed starting this month, road users whose vehicles are fitted with the device can still roam the roads freely as there will be no penalty imposed.
According to Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) director-general Professor Dr. Wong Shaw Voon, the ruling to make the 3-point lap seatbelt mandatory only applies to manufacturers of passenger vehicles.
Wong argued that despite a finding which suggests that the 2-point lap seatbelt is not safe enough, it is better to use it than nothing at all.
“The 2-point seatbelt is not totally unsafe as it still provides some form of restraining power to prevent the occupants of a vehicle from being thrown around and suffer more damage during a collision,” said Wong.
“What’s most important is to fasten your seatbelt. It doesn’t matter what seatbelt you are using if you don’t fasten it in the first place.”
A source from the Road Transport Department confirmed that those whose vehicle is already fitted with a 2-point lap seatbelt will not be penalised.
The New Straits Times had reported that starting this month, all manufacturers of passenger vehicles will be compelled to fit their models with the three-point seatbelt.
This effectively means that the two-point lap belt, commonly found in the centre rear seat of cars and express buses, will be outlawed.
Manufacturers that fail to comply with the ruling will not be able to market their vehicles as theirs will be declared not roadworthy.
RTD automotive engineering director Datuk Mohamad Dalib was quoted as saying that crash impact tests by experts had proven that the pressure imposed by 2-point lap seatbelt in a crash could cause serious injuries, despite preventing the passenger from being thrown out of the vehicle in an accident,
“This shows the need for lap belts to be replaced with three-point seatbelts. The risks associated with lap belts include severing the lower torso and causing serious injuries to women who have had a Caesarean section,” he said.