Gov't blamed for vehicles imported without seatbelts
Lynvalle Hamilton

PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers' Association Lynvalle Hamilton says the Government has ultimate oversight and monitoring of the approved specifications for vehicles that are imported into the island, and so bears the responsibility to adjust related policies as it sees fit.

He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday against the background of a concern raised in Parliament this week regarding the importation of motor vehicles that are not fitted with rear seatbelts. The matter was raised by Member of Parliament for St Catherine Eastern Denise Daley on Tuesday after Transport Minister Audley Shaw's announcement in the House of Representatives of a roll-back of the child restraint system requirements for public passenger vehicles. The provision in the new Road Traffic Act is being replaced with a schedule of child-seating arrangements based on age, size, and vehicle type.

"We have to go through a pre-inspection that is set up by the Government, so it's the Government that determines what comes into the country. If it is that the Government wants to insert that into the policy, it would be the Government's responsibility. The seatbelt being not at the back of certain vehicles, that's accepted worldwide by a lot of countries," Hamilton said.

He noted, however, that the devices can be installed after importation."I'm well aware that some of these things have been on the books, but the fact that it wasn't being enforced is something that we have to take into consideration in dealing with the public," Hamilton remarked.

Daley had argued, "When importing, we must make sure that we don't import these vehicles without retrofitted, proper seatbelts. We have been importing vehicles in this country that have no seatbelts, maybe you have at the front, when you look at the back there is none".

The child seat requirement table will be added to the 13th schedule of the regulations, to set out what is required for different categories of vehicles based on the different ages, size ranges and different types of restraints for the conveyance of children. The Government is allowing a period of three months during which other concerns regarding the law may be brought to its attention.

Alphea Sumner

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