Seatbelt law now in effect
by Nick Delgado
Guam - With a New Year comes new public policy, as the new seatbelt law took effect today. The regulation enforces the use of seatbelts by all passengers in a vehicle and the use of child restraint seats. Accordingly, motorists caught violating the law could face fines of up to $500.
Motorists are being warned as we start out 2010 year. A new law signed back in June 2009 by then-acting governor Mike Cruz places more restrictions not just for the driver, but for every individual passenger in the vehicle.
Senator Tom Ada said, "Several things of course is that the law intends that each child that's being carried in a vehicle is either in a child restraint seat in the case of children who are between the ages of 4 and 11, if they under a certain height, they have to be in a booster seat. In addition to that, every passenger in a vehicle has to be in some sort of a restraint system."
Introduced by Ada, the new seatbelt law not only holds everyone inside the vehicle accountable, but also limits the number of people allowed to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. Passengers seated in the bed of the truck are required to be seated directly on the floor of the bed, and not on any items lying around in the back.
The senator continued, "It regulates the number of people who can ride in the back of a pickup truck. The new law will now limit the number of people to five, and they have got to be seated on the bed of that pickup truck...it also prohibits the passengers on the back of that truck from sitting on the railing or sitting with their back up against the tailgate."
It's a safety concern that local authorities are trying to tackle as they see more and more injuries and traffic related deaths caused by a lack of residents using safety devices and taking extreme caution when on Guam's roadways. "The safety aspects," said Officer Allan Guzman, spokesman for the Guam Police Department. "Guam's roadways take a lot of deaths. The thing about it is we need to make it safer."
A final thing to consider with the implementation of the new seat belt law is how much more you could be spending if you do not follow it. Senator Ada stated, "The penalty for first time offenders, is $100, and that's for every violation, and then if you are pulled over again for the same violation, then the penalty is doubled to $200 per violation."