Following the adoption of the amendments to the Traffic Safety Law in Serbia, the legislator was especially focused on the protection of children in vehicles.
Penalties for drivers who do not strap their children in the proper child seat now range from 100,000 to 120,000 dinars, revocation of a driver’s license for a period of at least eight months, and 13 to 15 punitive points, depending on the gravity of the offense.
“Last year, unfortunately, 14 children died in traffic accidents in Serbia”, says Damir Okanovic, president of the Serbian Traffic Safety Committee. “Of these, three were pedestrians, two were cyclists and nine died in car crashes. It is only logical to assume that tougher penalties contributed to fewer children being killed in traffic accidents as passengers”, Okanovic adds.
The new law clearly states that a child has to be at least 12 years of age to be driven in the front car seat. A child who is less than 135 centimetres tall should be properly strapped in a tested booster seat, except in public transport.
“Unfortunately, there are many vehicles that don’t even have seat belts in the back. My advice to parents is to install back seat belts and buy a proper car seat for their child. There should be no excuses when children safety is at stake. A quality car seat that has passed all the relevant tests costs less than 50 euros. The prices of booster seats are even lower. Higher prices do not guarantee quality when it comes to car seats. The main thing is that they are tested”, Okanovic adds.
The proper seat attestation bears the mark ECE R44 / 4 (44/3) and it indicates that the seat is attested in one of the countries of the European Union.
The law does stipulate several exceptions namely that a child under the age of three can be transported in the front seat of the car, strapped in a proper child seat and facing the back of the car providing that the car does not have air bags, or that they are turned off.
Four-year old children can use a booster seat only if the height of this seat ensures that the child is properly strapped in and if the back seat has a headrest.
Although most parents do use car seats for their children, many of them don’t know how to install it properly. Damir Okanovic and the Serbian car racer, Dusan Borkovic participated in a campaign during which they checked a number of cars and car seats in them.
“The results were catastrophic. It is incredible how many people don’t know how to properly install a car seat. It is clear that we need to step up our efforts in educating parents”, Okanovic added.