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Malaysia has received a poor rating on its effectiveness in implementing the seat belt law and raising general awareness on road safety by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to a report by theSun, the latest WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 states that Malaysia received only a score of four out a maximum of 10 for the national seat belt law enforcement.

Said report has documented the nation’s seat belt compliance rate to be at 77% for the front seats and only 13% for rear seats. “Wearing a seat-belt can reduce deaths among rear-seat car occupants by 25% to 75% while it also reduces the risk of death among front-seat passengers by 40% to 65%,” noted the report.

Earlier this year, a separate report by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) found that only 7-9% of Malaysians wear seat belts in the rear of a car. In February 2009, when the rear seat belt law was introduced, compliance rate was rated by MIROS at 47% before falling over the years.

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The report also went on to highlight the lack of regulation in Malaysia for child restraining systems as well as restrictions for children sitting in front. “Infant seats, child seats and booster seats can reduce child deaths by 54% to 80% in the event of a crash,” added the report. Out of the 105 countries included in said report, 53 (which represent 1.2 billion people) are noted to have stringent child restraint laws.

According to an earlier report, the Malaysian government could only introduce a mandatory child seat (child restraint systems) law as early as 2019, citing cost, economy and public awareness issues. The Road Safety Department had earlier on received complaints from motorists on the steep costs required for a child seat – though it has to be said that there are ECE R44-certified child car seats on sale from as low as RM400.

The WHO report also rated Malaysia with a score of five out of ten on enforcement efforts made in implementing drink-driving laws. Said report stated that 23% of deaths involving motorcyclists and motorists in Malaysia were indeed alcohol-related. “Better laws are needed on speed, drinking and driving, use of motorcycle helmets, seat belts and child restraints,” commented WHO director-general, Margaret Chan.