Survey: Taxi riders in back seats shrug off seat belts

Taxi passengers show no interest in the seat belt when they riding in the back. (M2F photo)

Do you fasten up when riding in the back seat of a taxi? If not, you are an overwhelming majority.

A survey by the Thai Roads Foundation, an advocacy group promoting road safety, has found only 3% of the cab riders fastened seat belts when they were in the back.

The survey asked 3,717 passengers riding taxis in eight Bangkok districts early this month and the results were shown on Thursday.

Gender does not make much of a difference as men using rear-seat belts accounted for 4%, only one percentage point higher than women.

The results came despite the revised Land Transport Law which fines both taxi drivers and passengers up to 500 baht each for failing to fasten up.

The revision of the law took effect in March this year. The old law required the belts to be fastened only for the driver and passengers in the front.

The figures showed back-seat riders misunderstood, thinking they would be safe if an accident occurs, said Wichet Pihairat, a board member of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, a joint sponsor of the survey with the Land Transport Department and Chubb Insurance (Thailand). 

Accidents happen even on a short ride, another possible reason for not using the belt, he added.

Riding with a seat belt fastened would reduce the fatal rate by up to 40%, he added.

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