Gov’t announces changes in traffic regulation
Aysel Alp - ANKARA
With the new changes in the traffic regulation entered into force as of Aug. 16, it has become mandatory for minibuses, buses and taxis to have a three-point seat belt for children, while motorcycle, e-scooter and bicycle riders are required to wear reflective vests at night.
The critical changes, which were introduced in line with the action plan outlined until 2030, concerning both vehicles and passengers were determined under the coordination of the Interior Ministry with the contributions of Transport, and Environment, Urbanism and Climate Change ministries.
According to the amendment, it is obligatory to have at least one three-point seat belt for children in taxis, and one-tenth of the total number of seats in minibuses and intercity buses.
In addition, these vehicles will not be allowed to travel unless the driver and passengers “are wearing seatbelts and using the necessary protective devices.”
Another critical issue that was amended in the regulation was the obligation for riders of bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles as well as e-scooters and electric bicycles, which have been frequently involved in traffic accidents recently, to wear reflective vest-like clothing that will make them easier to be seen by other drivers during nighttime travel.
With another rule introduced due to the increase in online shopping and the acceleration of the courier service, moped, motorcycle and electric bicycle riders will be required to wear protective glasses that will “protect the eye against external influences, will not interfere with vision and will not disrupt normal vision.”
The Interior Ministry had previously postponed the implementation of some temporary articles of the regulation on school buses published in 2017.
Failure to comply with provisions such as having a three-point seat belt and necessary protective equipment for each student, installing sensor systems in each seat, and a system that can record for at least thirty days with interior and exterior cameras on vehicles of model year 2015 and earlier will not be penalized until 2026.
The entry into force of these rules was postponed to 2025 for 2016 model vehicles and 2024 for 2017 model vehicles.
Alpay Lök, the deputy chair of the Türkiye Traffic Accidents Prevention Association, said the changes are of great importance in order to reduce traffic accidents.
It will also be obligatory to have reflective vests available in cars while driving at night, and to wear them by both the driver and passengers in the event of standing by the roadside (during a breakdown), according to Lök.
“The next step should be taxis with child seats, as in Germany,” Lök said, adding that these rules should also be followed through inspections and, if necessary, penalties.
Stating that he is pleased with the implementation of the new rules in line with the action plan, Mustafa Yıldırım, the head of the Bus Drivers Federation, said, “Our passengers should know that they should not travel without belts on buses anymore.”
“Insurance companies also argue that compensation should not be paid to the unbelted passenger on the grounds that it was their own fault in accidents, and lawsuits are filed in this regard,” he added.
A total of 1,180 people lost their lives, and 158,000 others were injured in road accidents in Türkiye in the first seven months of this year, according to the latest data from the Traffic Department of the General Directorate of Security.