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Tougher safety belt requirements from today

Tougher safety belt requirements from today

Tougher safety requirements for replacement seatbelts come into force from today (1 April).

In most cases safety belts in front seats that fail Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness inspections will now have to be replaced with more modern webbing clamp safety belts.

Webbing clamp safety belts hold drivers and passengers more firmly in place in a crash with a mechanism which clamps onto the belt material to prevent slippage. The locking mechanism on older style retractor belts can allow some of the belt to slip in a crash, increasing the likelihood that vehicle occupants will be injured by a collision with the steering wheel or dashboard.

The new requirement is part of the Seatbelt and Seatbelt Anchorages Rule, approved by government last year.

Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright said the new requirement was a simple way of reducing the risk of serious injuries in crashes.

"Modern safety belts can make the difference between life and death in a crash. When technology like this exists and is widely available, we have to ensure that New Zealanders enjoy the benefits of it," Mr Wright said.
Safety belts are inspected as part of regular Warrant and Certificate of Fitness inspections, but damage can occur at anytime.

Webbing clamp belts two of two

Common problems with safety belts include fraying and cuts to the belt material, fading from prolonged exposure to sunlight, damaged buckles and belts which don't retract properly.

Any safety belt that has been worn in a serious crash should be replaced.

For more information on safety belts and the new requirements for replacement belts visit the LTSA website at http://www.ltsa.govt.nz.

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