The Road Transport Department (JPJ) swung into action at the stroke of midnight to enforce the law on vehicle rear seat belts which came into force today and promptly issued 242 summonses for failure to buckle up, at 28 locations nationwide.

Vehicle owners and passengers will be given a six-month grace period up to June 30 when they will only be issued a compound fine of RM300 for not wearing rear seat belts.

From July 1, drivers and passengers caught not using their seat belts would have to pay a fine of up to RM2,000, serve up to one year’s jail or both under the Road Transport Act.

Johor had the highest number of offenders at 95 in the JPJ operation involving 500 officers which was held from 10pm yesterday to 2am today, JPJ director of enforcement Salim Parlan told Bernama.

He said many rear seat passengers had begun to wear the seat belts, pointing out that in Penang only six summonses were issued for the offence and it reflected the success of the JPJ campaign to encourage rear seat passengers to buckle up.

“Statistics show that yearly almost 300 deaths are recorded because of the complacency of vehicle users who do not wear rear seat belts,” Salim said.

He also said that JPJ issued 550 summonses to motorists for not having a driving licence or for having an expired licence.

“Some 182 summonses were issued to motorists for having expired road tax and 59 vehicles were confiscated for not having road tax. Seventy-two summonses were issued for use of the High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps,” he said.

He said HID lamps were prohibited since early December because the glare of the white light could pose a danger to other road users.

Salim said that between January and the end of December last year, the JPJ inspected more than 1.8 million vehicles and seven per cent of the owners or 130,547 of them were summoned for having no driving licence or having expired licence.

“One per cent or 19,075 motorists were summoned for not having road tax or having expired road tax,” he said.

In KEDAH, State JPJ Director Jaafar Mohamed said summonses were issued to 12 rear seat passengers from not buckling up during an operation in Sungai Petani.

He said the Kedah JPJ would continue with the operation in other places in the state.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, State JPJ Director Kamal Saad said 11 summonses were issued for the offence, and that many motorists and passengers said they were unaware of the law on rear seat belts.

The operation, conducted by 78 officers, was held at Senawang, Mambau and Ampangan, he said.

In PERLIS, State JPJ Director Abd Rahman Hussain said 12 rear seat passengers were caught for not having buckled up.

The Perlis JPJ operation was conducted along with five other enforcement agencies — Immigration Department, Narcotics Division of the police, National Anti-Drug Agency, Department of Environment and Customs Department — from Dec 30.

Abd Rahman said the JPJ also hauled up 254 people for offences related to driving licence and road tax.

In PAHANG, State JPJ director Datuk Zakaria Man said most rear seat passengers were seen to be observing the regulation on seat belts.

Only two people were caught not wearing rear seat belts during an operation in Kuantan and Temerloh where more than 2,500 vehicles were inspected after midnight.

He said 163 summonses were issued, among them for having expired or no driving licence or expired road tax.

In MELAKA, State JPJ director Ismail Mohd Zawawi said 11 summonses were issued for failure to wear rear seat belts.

He said in the operation after midnight, 300 vehicles were inspected and 61 summonses were issued for various offences.

In KELANTAN, the state police said enforcement of the rear seat belt ruling would be enforced from today.

He said summonses for the offence would be issued to people aged 17 and above and for those below 17 caught not buckling up, the summons would be issued to the driver of the vehicle.