Georgia introduces new seat belt rules

Georgia will begin the Decade of Action with a tougher seat belt law in a victory for national campaigners and the FIA Foundation’s seat belt vaccine initiative.

As part of its ‘Global Seat Belt Vaccine Initiative’ the FIA Foundation is backing the NGO ‘Partnership for Road Safety’ which has spearheaded the efforts to update seat belt legislation. Amendments to the country’s Code of Administrative Violations, steered through parliament by Vice-Speaker Rusudan Kervalishvili and  Otar Toidze, Chairman of the Health and Social Issues Committee, are now set to be introduced in January 2011, making seat belt wearing in the front seats obligatory on all roads in the country. Currently seat belt laws only apply on inter-urban highways and roads where the speed limit is above 80 kph. The new amendments will extend this to all roads and streets. The fine for non-compliance will be 40 GEL (approx US$20).

The Partnership for Road Safety NGO, headed by FIA Foundation road safety scholar Gela Kvashilava, has the strong endorsement of Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Roelofs, and is working with leading legislators to buttress the legislation with effective police enforcement and awareness raising amongst road users.

Catalysing national coalitions for road injury prevention is a unifying theme in the intervention programmes the FIA Foundation supports. Building sustainable home-grown skills is a central component of the International Road Assessment Programme; while the FIA Foundation’s road safety scholarship programme is designed to identify, train and support talented future safety leaders. And the hundreds of thousands of dollars being invested in helmet and seat belt ‘vaccine initiatives’ are sowing the seeds for strong and viable national partnerships dedicated to saving lives. 

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