The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has urged politicians, civil servants and community leaders to be advocates of seat belt use and lead by example, Bernama reported. A study conducted this year by MIROS has found that seat belt usage compliance is at 90% for drivers, 70% for front seat passengers and 11% for rear seat passengers, said MIROS chairman Datuk Suret Singh.

“[Proper use of seat belts among] both drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of serious injury and death in a crash by 50%, and the correct installation and use of height- and weight-appropriate child restraint systems (CRS) may help to reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children aged one to four years old,” the MIROS chairman said in a statement.

The institute’s chairman also notes that nearly all passenger cars have been equipped with seat belt from 1993, and parents should also educate their children to use child restraint systems from an early age.

“Not wearing your seat belt can earn you demerit points. It is not worth having your driver’s licence revoked just because of a simple act – [fastening] your seat belt, which only takes seconds. It is disheartening to see passengers and babies flung out of vehicles in road crashes,” Suret said.

A revamp of the Demerit Points System for Traffic Offences (Kejara) by the ministry of transport is currently underway, in conjunction with the road transport department (JPJ) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), once the integration of data between JPJ and PDRM is complete.