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Seatbelt laws to be enforced beginning on Monday

The Ministry of National Security has announced that seatbelt laws will be strictly enforced by police beginning on Monday.

The laws were enacted in March 2002. Notices appeared in newspapers on Tuesday announcing the policy change. Currently, police pay little to no attention to seatbelt use. Many Bahamians do not use seatbelts.

All drivers and passengers will be required to use seatbelts or risk fines ranging from$100 up to$500.

“Officers would have a zero tolerance toward those persons who fail to comply with this. Everyone in the vehicle must be properly restrained and children under the age of five must be properly placed in a child seat,”said National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest yesterday.”This is for their safety and for the safety of other road users.”

The Nassau Guardianunderstands that officers from the Traffic Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force have already begun advising motorists to use seatbelts. 

As of Monday, drivers not wearing seatbelts would be fined$300; passengers not wearing seatbelts would be fined$100; and drivers would be fined$500 if children are found riding in vehicles not secured by a seatbelt or child safety seat.

When contacted yesterday Superintendent Carolyn Bowe, officer-in-charge of the police Traffic Division, said a news conference is scheduled for today to discuss the issue.

According to police, there have already been over 2,000 traffic accidents and 40 traffic fatalities in New Providence in 2010. Many of the people killed or injured as a result of these accidents were not wearing seatbelts, said police.

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