The decision of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to enforce the law on seat belts has become a matter of great worry for commercial vehicle owners.

Section 119 of the Road Traffic Regulations, Legislative Instrument (LI) 2180, prohibits the use of vehicles without seatbelts in the country.

It states, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle unless the motor vehicle is fitted with seatbelts.”

Indeed, the law was passed by Parliament in 2012, but gave a two-year grace period which elapsed this year, hence the DVLA’s decision to enforce it.

The purpose of this law is to drastically reduce the number of deaths during accidents on our roads, especially involving commercial vehicles such as ‘trotros’ and inter-city transport services.

It is a fact that the majority of the fatalities on the roads are largely due to the lack of seatbelts on the vehicles, or the failure by passengers to use those available.

According to the DVLA, its aim is to achieve about 50 per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries associated with vehicle accidents by 2020.

The Times fully supports the action by the DVLA, and encourages all motorists to comply to ensure the protection of passengers and prevent the loss of precious lives during road crashes.

We are however, concerned about the process adopted by the DVLA to enforce the law.

The Times holds that since the law was promulgated in 2012, the DVLA had ample time not only to conduct the necessary public education, but also put in place the structures and processes that would have ensured a smooth implementation.

Reports reaching the Times indicate, however, that the DVLA is yet to institute the appropriate mechanisms to minimise the challenges associated with its implementation.

Even though the enforcement of the law took effect on September 1, the DVLA has now scheduled workshops in October, to train mechanics in the fixing of the seatbelts, before the registration.

As a result, its officials have been rejecting commercial vehicles taken to its offices for registration, in some cases because the seatbelts have not been properly fitted.

It is instructive to note that since the implementation of the law began, no commercial vehicle had been registered as at last Friday, when the Times visited the premises of the DVLA in Accra.

We are alarmed that officials of the DVLA had gone to sleep after the law was passed two years ago, and expected everything to move on smoothly with the implementation.

We advise the officials to sit up, and straighten things to save members of the public the frustrations being encountered in trying to get their vehicles registered.

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