EgyptLifestyle

Egypt’s unruly motorists told to belt up

Egyptian traffic police are applying seatbelt regulations with unusual New Year's resolve in a bid to reduce one of the world's highest road fatality rates.

Regulations obliging motorists to wear seatbelts were part of a law passed last March, but since many cars lacked seatbelts, once regarded by the Customs Authority as a taxable optional extra, owners were given nine months to install them.

According to the state-owned Al-Gomhuria newspaper, seatbelt prices have soared to LE200 (about £34) from LE20 as traders cashed in on panic buying before the regulations took effect.

“The campaign is going very well. We have a 90% success rate,” said a police officer in downtown . “It's been successful because people are afraid of being fined.”

Drivers caught without their seatbelts fastened face fines ofLE 50 to 100. An unbuckled passenger in the front seat of a taxi must pay a spot fine of LE20.

“Why should we have to wear seatbelts in the city where the traffic is too slow?” asked Ibrahim, a Cairo taxi driver. “At least taxi drivers shouldn't have to wear them.”

But a motorist who gave his name as Hussein disagreed. “I think it's great. I didn't wear my seatbelt regularly before, but these fines make you more careful,” he said.

The Cairo traffic department reported 3,265 seatbelt violations on New Year's Day, when the regulations took effect, the official News Agency reported.

Other provisions such as tougher penalties for speeding and double-parking, were enforced when the law was passed in March.

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This article was first published by Reuters on 2 January 2001.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual . Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the Middle East and . He grew up in and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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