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Killer seatbelts are easily replaced – expert

Killer seatbelts are easily replaced – expert
 ‘Killer’ lap seatbelts can be easily replaced in many vehicles, but the process is hampered by government red tape, according to a leading road safety campaigner.

Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, whose pioneering research on seatbelt upgrades was given an award by the Australian Police Journal, said that upgrading lap seatbelts is a relatively simple job.

 “It’s usually less than an hour’s work to put in a new seatbelt mount and about a ten minute job to bolt in the new seatbelt.”

“The problem is not the upgrade, the problem is the draconian regulations. By requiring engineer’s certification for even simple modifications, Land Transport New Zealand has created an environment where killer seatbelts are left untouched, even though people are dying unnecessarily as a result.”

“You can’t make an old car as safe as a new car, but you can make it a hell of a lot safer than it is at present.”

“I have no problem with engineers supervising seatbelt upgrades, but the current system is unworkable. And please don’t fall for the line that lives could be lost if the regulations were simplified. There is clear evidence that lives are being lost as a result of the current regulations.”
“If Land Transport likes regulations, it should recommend an import ban on any vehicle with lap seatbelts.”

Two years ago, Huntly Coroner Bob McDermott also recommended that lapbelts be banned after the death of a 77-year-old woman in a crash on State Highway 1 near Wellsford. She was wearing a lapbelt which ruptured her internal organs on impact.

Matthew-Wilson added: “The government is still allowing vehicles with lapbelts into the country. I know lapbelts are deadly, the government knows that lapbelts are deadly. There are now alternatives to lapbelts. Why are vehicles with lapbelts still being allowed in and why is it so hard to upgrade the ones that are already here?”
• Hatchbacks and station wagons cannot currently be upgraded from lap seatbelts because there is nowhere to bolt the third point of the new seatbelt.

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