Following the initial announcement back in October 2018 by Transport Minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail reminded once again in October last year about mandatory child car seat in vehicles which took into effect on 1st January 2020.
Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) has released the specification for child car seat, where for every child below the height of 135cm (or approximately below the age 12 years old) should use the child restraints system (CRS) since Malaysia has adopted the United Nations R44 or R129 Standards for CRS.
MIROS’ guidelines specified four different types of seats from birth up to 13kg (up to a height of 83cm, approximately 0 to 18 months), 9-18kg (71cm height and above, approximately 15 months to four years old), 15–25kg (100cm and above, approximately four to seven years old) and 22-36kg (up to 135cm, approximately 6 to 12 years old).
As accident rates are high involving children, it has become a necessity for parents to purchase a child car seat to protect them from an accident and calamities.
While Transport Minister Anthony Loke has announced that child car seats are compulsory from this year, he has also directed the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to not give any penalty yet on drivers for the first six months since its implementation.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail would regulate the online market for child car seats to ensure they meet the necessary safety standards. The ministry would enforce the said legal provisions under Section 10(1) H and Section 21 of Consumer Protection Act, and Section 5 and Section 18 of Trade Description Act should any discrepancy arise.
Due to space constraints, large families would be exempted from installing child car seats in their vehicles as per Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar’s statement in Parliament on 28th November 2019. However, passengers sitting at the back will still need to be strapped in rear seat belts.
Although rear safety seat belts have been made compulsory by law back in 2008, nothing much was further done to strictly enforce it. But from this year, the government is stepping up on its enforcement.
Currently, according to Loke, passengers who do not have their seat belts fastened will be fined up to RM300 when caught by law enforcement authorities. However, JPS’s website stipulates that those who do not use the seatbelt (front or rear) will be fined up to RM2,000 or jailed for a maximum of one (1) year or both.
Do also take note that fines will be imposed on rear seat passengers who are aged 17 years and above who are not buckled-up, whereas those below 17 years of age who are not strapped, the driver will be fined instead!
JPJ states that rear passengers who are not buckled up can become a safety hazard to themselves, the front row passengers and the driver. According to a research conducted by MIROS, at a speed of 50km/h, a rear passenger weighing 60kg can slam into the front seats at an impact equivalent to 2.4 tonnes. So it is always better to stay safe than being sorry later.