It is lamentable that there are close to 800 cases of passengers and drivers caught by the authorities every month for failing to belt up in their vehicles. Needless to add, many others possibly go unnoticed because it is impossible to check every car every kilometre every day. The statistics are all the more surprising as they suggest that the dangerous habit of a driver or passenger riding unbuckled, and dire and often deadly consequences associated with road accidents, apparently does not feature prominently on the mental map of many Singaporeans - the existence of laws, and the threat of fines for non-compliance notwithstanding.
A habitual disregard or inability to put on a seat belt could be put down to a lack of awareness and knowledge of how important these devices could be in the event of an accident. This is surprising since educated Singaporeans could be expected to understand the severe consequences of their omission. Nowhere is that importance better underlined than by the actions of civil defence officers, police and doctors who have the thankless task of trying to salvage victims from the results of their own folly, or the rash actions of others who are on the road.
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