NATIONAL

Buckle up or pay up on expressways

By 이종민
  • Published : Mar 31, 2011 - 19:19
  • Updated : Mar 31, 2011 - 19:19

Starting in April, all vehicle passengers on expressways here will be required to wear seatbelts, said the National Police Agency on Thursday.

Under a revised traffic law, drivers on expressways including Olympic and Gangbyeon Expressway risk being fined 30,000 won ($27) when carrying passengers not buckled in.

The law originally stated that only front-seat passengers of private vehicles and all passengers of express buses were required to wear seatbelts on expressways.

Expressways are defined as having a center divider of at least 2 meters, a speed limit of 90 kph and being prohibited to motorcyclists.

According to officials, the revision was made to include all expressway passengers in personal vehicles because the number of casualties on these roads exceeds that of highways.

According to government data, highways have seen 3,748 accidents with some 9,636 injuries and 397 fatalities, equaling a mortality rate of 10.6 percent. While expressways have a lower mortality rate of 7 percent, the number of accidents is greater, as is the number of casualties. In 2009, there were 7,306 accidents with 16,066 injuries and 512 deaths.

“With monitoring beginning tomorrow, penalties or fines could possibly be added (to tickets),” said an official.

“However, we are not ‘regulating for the sake of regulating’ but rather we plan to increase awareness, and guidelines will be set to allow on-scene officers to make their own judgments,” he said.

By Robert Lee (rjmlee@heraldcorp.com)