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New car seat law effective from 1 May

Parents who don’t strap their children under the age of 3 in a car seat will be fined.

FILE:Parents who don’t strap their children under the age of 3 in a car seat will be fined. Picture: @947highveld via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Parents who don't strap their children under the age of three in a car seat will from next month be slapped with a heavy traffic fine.

The Transport Department has told EWN that Minister Dipuo Peters is introducing a new regulation to the National Road Traffic Act which seeks to protect children.

Nearly 40 people die on the country's roads every day, three to four of them are children.

Peters' spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso says government will be relying on traffic officers to enforce this new regulation especially during roadblocks.

Rikhotso says up to now there was no penalty for motorists whose under three-year-old children are not in a baby seat with the seat belt on.

"We believe that we're covering a very important area which has been exposed for quite some time."

The department has also encouraged South Africans to report motorists whose under three-year-old children are not strapped in a baby seat, as it will become compulsory on 1 May.

Rikhotso says for some who cannot afford a baby seat the new regulation could be tough.

"The value of your children is better than that temporary pain that you will be going through in investing in a proper car seat for your child."

Rikhotso says over the next 30 days before the new traffic law comes into effect, the department will be launching awareness campaigns across the country.

"It's now a punishable offence if you are stopped by a traffic police and it happens that your child is not restrained, we're going to issue a traffic fine. But of course give you a stern warning."

The department says it has no other option but to introduce the new traffic law, as parents in general are ignoring government's call to take responsibility for their children while traveling in their cars.