Q7. Do passengers in public light buses have a legal obligation to buckle up when seat belts are available?
Yes. Indeed, the duty of the passenger to check for the seat belt availability might be stricter than one would have thought.
If there is no seat belt provided for a particular seat, the passenger shall first look for another rear seat that is provided with a seat belt and not occupied by other passengers. If there is one, the passenger should occupy that seat and be fastened to it with the seat belt.
Only when there is no other rear seat that is provided with a seat belt and not occupied can the passenger be exempted from the seat belt rule: see Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F), Regulation 7B(1) and 7B(5).
Any person who contravenes regulation 7B(1) or (5) commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 3 months: see Regulation 12(1) of Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations (Cap. 374F).
However, public light buses registered on or after 1 August 2004 are required to be fitted with seat belts and high rear seats. Only a small portion of public light buses running on the road has still not equipped their rear seats with seat belts.