There’s been a viral WhatsApp message of a purported police statement saying that the force will conduct checks to enforce the wearing of rear seatbelts every evening on the Plus Highway. RM300 fine for one errant rear passenger and RM600 for two, so it goes.

The PDRM’s Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department (JSPT) has come out to deny issuing such a statement as well as the RM300 per rear passenger fine.

“Road users are urged to stop spreading any fake message and to always check the veracity of any message before uploading or sharing it on social media. The department advises all road users to always obey the law and traffic rules to ensure everyone’s safety,” Bukit Aman JSPT deputy director Datuk Mohd Nadzri Hussain said in a statement.

Plus has also released a statement debunking the rear seatbelt operations rumour. “However, Plus strongly recommends all highway customers to always secure themselves using the rear seatbelts, as well as securing their infant and child in child safety restraint seats for a safer journey,” the statement added.

So, while there’s no such rear seat belt operasi by the police, we really should buckle up at the back and make it a habit. A study conducted by MIROS last year found that seat belt usage compliance is at 90% for drivers, 70% for front seat passengers and just 11% for rear seat passengers – that’s not good enough.

Besides the risk of catapulting forward in a crash and hitting hard surfaces, research has found that drivers are twice as likely to be killed in crashes when the occupant behind them is not wearing a seatbelt, so perhaps a large scale rear seatbelt operations by the cops is needed after all.