Your Letters

Take seat belts more seriously

Dr Lee Wei Ling's article on seat belts raised points that merit attention from the authorities ("Belt up - don't get complacent because of airbags"; June 21).

They have to do more to ensure that ordinary motorists and passengers always use seat belts.

While working in a motor dealership during the 1980s, before rear seat belts were made compulsory, I strenuously debated with a qualified risk analyst if it was necessary to incur higher costs by fitting them in cars we sold. He insisted that they were necessary.

A week after our discussion, a woman was hurled out of the rear seat during a test drive. She broke her spine, and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.

As for children who refuse to be belted up in moving cars, parents should insist that they obey the law, rather than set a bad example by protesting against enforcement officers when caught not doing so.

In case of a sudden stop, the children become projectiles that can cause serious injury to other passengers, or to themselves.

Perhaps an enhanced penalty is called for in such cases to teach social responsibility, and remind recalcitrant parents not to put children and themselves at risk.

Seat belts can save lives even in low-speed crashes. People have died in such crashes in carparks.

Dr Lee was absolutely right in pointing out that airbags are only supplementary safety devices. They may give some degree of additional protection, but not as much as seat belts, which are the single most important safety feature in modern automobiles.

Competition car models are ordered from the factory without airbags to keep them light. But the use of very good seat belts is compulsory in motor sports.

As a participant, I have been in five high-speed crashes. The cars, totally immobilised, had to be towed to the workshop. Each time, I just got out and walked away.

Lee Chiu San

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'Take seat belts more seriously Your Letters'. Print Edition | Subscribe