Safety topic: seatbelts

After seeing the front page of a local newspaper the other day. It showed 2 women lying in the middle of the road after hitting a wall and flying out through the windshield of their SUV…obviously, there was no mention of the fact that they weren’t wearing their seatbelts and that the crash had been cause because one of the women was troubled over her recent split with her boyfriend…too bad 2 people lots their lives and the true cause of their deaths is a taboo subject for the people and the media…

I’ve also had several passengers in my car in that refused to wear seatbelts while seated in the back seat, claiming that it isn’t necessary…I’ve also been in many Taxi cabs where there are no rear seatbelts…Anyways, seatbelt usage was never an issue for the majority of people back hom, but it seems like the cool thing to not wear them in Taiwan…and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a large number of road deaths in Taiwan (in cars) would be attributed to not wearing a seatbelt…

anyways, here’s a vid that hopefully help pass the word…

I have had arguments and even had to stop my car and shout at people for not wearing their rear seatbelts.
I have even tried to educate them that it isn’t even just them that risks dying in an accident but the other passengers that they collide with, but they seem very selfish at times and still refuse, claiming that “it isn’t necessary.”
Even my wife and I had an argument after I refused to get into the taxi that we ordered over the phone and requested to have the rear seatbelts in usable mode (latches out and on display) when the lazy arsed driver arrived, he had no usable rear seatbelts and still insisted that he did, even though the buckles were still under the rear seats. I walked away from his cab with his rear door left open in disgust and my wife shouted at me for not just getting in with our kid. I screemed at her for wanting to reward an arsehole for being a lazy git. Then two days later my wife was telling me how she was so disgusted that on the news two kids were reported to have died after their drunk father crashed and they flew around with no seatbelts on. She said she couldn’t believe that the father could have been so unresponsible. Go figure, people don’t think half the time.

I was just going to post about a story in the Apple Daily and this makes it even more tragic. A 12 year old boy had ‘fallen out’ of a Mitsubishi Savrin driven by his drunk father and got crushed to death. Again there was no mention of seatbelts or child restraints, nor any discussion of the Savrin tipping over.

In the past two years I have seen no less than three Savrins rolled over. Now either there is a problem with the design of these things, or a problem with the average driver’s mentality, or both. On one occasion an a-ma had flown straight through the rear window of a tipped over Savrin on the freeway and just lay in the road bleeding to death while everyone drove around her, beeping :fume:

Unfortunately A-Bian was unable to support the cause of traffic safety as he was already quite busy dressing up in leather and throwing glowing marbles around:

nearly as much sense as the dad driving along a twisty mountain road on a sunday afternoon with two kids standing up through the sunroof. dorks. the parents, not the kids… of course you want to do that when you’re a kid.

instant decapitation if dad does not notice a low-slung tree branch, or he rolls the car.

when the wife of the Taichung mayor was so badly injured in the back seat of their car (2 years ago?), there was supposed to be a hue and cry raised over rear seat belts. anything ever come of that? No, just like the new laws requiring helmets and rear red lights (at night) on bicycles in Taipei City. has any one EVER heard of a ticket being given for that particular law? ridiculous, when every day you can see hundreds of people cycling past the policeman on the pavement or going the wrong way at night on a black bike wearing black clothes with no helmet or lights. Idiots.

of course, the only real answer to give them is : Serves you right.

a cynic would say: Darwin in action.

come on guys… you’ve all been in Taiwan a long time no?..

surely you know by now, not wearing safety belts doesn’t kill people, fate kills people… okay that’s not entirely true, fate or also maybe bad luck… mmmmkay?..

besides, all this talking about it is putting us at risk…

Yeah, you better cut the unlucky tree down, it sits just in the way of the cautious driver not wearing his seat belt … :wink:

My wife is too lazy to even attempt to put seatbelts on our children, especially on the freeway.
When I bring up how insanely selfish such an act is, it turns out i’m just being difficult & overly critical.

case in point - the mother-in-law phones and says she and our boy are on the way back from taipei, and will be at our place in 20 minutes. i’m just home from work and knew nothing about it. my temper goes up far too many notches, due to past “voyages”.

anyways, as they pull in front of our building, i head out the door to bring him in and try not to explode. but what do i see? my son in the backseat, buckled in to his car seat. the tension just disappears.

it’s been a bit of a trial out this way, but it seems to have finally sunk in with the inlaws. i heartily suggest that you just refuse to get in the car a few times (especially when there is time pressure) until the seat is in place, and your child is in it securely.

[quote=“plasmatron”]come on guys… you’ve all been in Taiwan a long time no?..

surely you know by now, not wearing safety belts doesn’t kill people, fate kills people… okay that’s not entirely true, fate or also maybe bad luck… mmmmkay?..

besides, all this talking about it is putting us at risk…[/quote]

ooops…What was I talking about…I better swing by the temple today and get a refill on high octane fate!

Actually, there was a lot indignant clucking going on last week over a guy on a bike who was rear-ended by a kid on a scooter at night. The bicycle wasn’t fitted with a rear reflector and the judge found him responsible for the accident by being effectively invisible. The kid on the scooter was killed btw. Anyway, they were spinning it like it was a stupid law and that everyone knows if you hit someone from behind it’s your fault. Nothing about the anguished parents of the dead boy, just the old man and his crappy old bike, no brakes, no lights, can’t ride in a straight line etc., cursing about this ‘stupid law’ and his ‘bad luck’. :rolleyes:

Your posts give me hope. At least I’m not the only one who has some standards, even if it’s challenging to maintain them. Love the idea of rejecting a cab for no rear seat belts – so inspiring!!!

Which brings me to my situation: Traveling (yes, only traveling, sorry, don’t live there) to Taipei later this year with barely 3-yr old child in tow. Family visit or we wouldn’t make the trip from US at this point. Certain parts of trip will require car transport - either relative’s vehicle (maybe from airport) and others in taxi.

I want to bring a car seat. I’m alone in my adamancy in my household, and know I’ll definitely be alone among all relatives once we get there. I’ve found a folding booster (not backless) that installs using seat belt and based on demo this afternoon physically with child in car (although I wouldn’t use it full-time at home quite yet, but don’t dare bring a LATCH-type seat when seat belts themselves may not exist). Booster weighs 10 pounds, and can go in a bag. Most taxi trips will end at a restaurant, family home, or hotel. Since this is my issue, I am prepared to carry the car seat and plan to practice installation ahead of time (unfold, set in car, buckle kid) in both of our cars at home so I’ll have some experience getting it done right, quickly. (Note that we’ll use CARES ( in the plane again, so no need for car seat in plane.)

Note that I’m not just another neurotic US mom. Have been to Taipei and traveled to/lived in other parts of Asia and Europe and frankly traffic in Taipei was some of the worst I’ve seen, a few near death experiences…really don’t want to subject kid at this point but have to go on this trip. I am so tired of the “millions of children go seat beltless and car seatless so yours can too” line of thinking. By that same line of reasoning, there are many many things that a parent should not bother to do, and it’s just not acceptable when you know that car seats do provide some additional degree of protection and you know you’re going to encounter some pretty wild traffic.

We speak Mandarin and my husband speaks Minnanhua, so no linguistic excuse for not being able to communicate with cab drivers.

So, all that said, do you have suggestions on how to pull off succesfully usage of car seat in Taipei taxis? Can we ask hotel to try to arrange for suitable outbound vehicle w/back seat belts? Do I need to be obnoxious woman of the century and say “no” when cabs hailed have no seat belts? (Can we make them resurface them?)

Also, does the car seat law apply to taxis? (It does in the US, but not to buses.) It would bolster my case from a socialization standpoint if I can tell various parties that it’s the law.

Sorry to get on your forum but NO one has updated info on this topic…I’ve searched and searched and only forumosa folks address this issue.
Thanks in advance. CTMom, who doesn’t want her kid to go ‘splat’ on her watch

Best to leave the kid in the USA if at all possible.

It shouldn’t be a problem for the hotel staff to arrange for taxis in proper working order (with seat belts in the rear). It could get tough when trying to flag down a taxi in town, but if you go for a newer looking taxi, it will likely have rear seat belts.

If you bring your car seat, maybe you can notice the hotel in advance and see if you could have a dedicated taxi for the duration of your stay in Taipei…this way you wouldn’t have to install the seat every time you’d change taxi or drag it around with you.

So, all that said, do you have suggestions on how to pull off succesfully usage of car seat in Taipei taxis? Can we ask hotel to try to arrange for suitable outbound vehicle w/back seat belts? Do I need to be obnoxious woman of the century and say “no” when cabs hailed have no seat belts? (Can we make them resurface them?) [/quote]

First step, If you are staying at any hotel they will hold a list of reliable taxi companies. They may also have a line of taxis located outside the building. These are likely to hold a small number of vehicles which have accessible rear belts and clips.
It is my experience that when ordering a taxi with usable rear belts then a lot of the time a car turns up and it still doesn’t have use of its rear belts, even though they claim they will. It is for this reason that I recommend ordering, or searching for a specific model of car.
Off the top of my head, order or hail any of the following, although besides the Toyota Wish other models are indeed far less common than standard saloons which are the normal mode of taxi transport within Taiwan.

Toyota Wish (common Taxis) Picture Here
Nissan March (very uncommon as Taxis as this is now considered an old model) Picture Here
Honda Fit (uncommon as Taxis, but becoming more so)Picture Here
Suzuki SX4 (Uncommon as Taxis) Picture Here

The vehicles listed above all have foldable rear seats and bases which you can normally, simply unlatch the base cushion and have immediate access to the rear seat belt clips which are commonly stored under the rear seat base by most drivers. You should be able to simply manage the location of rear seat belts on any of the above vehicles. In addition to this information it may be of use to know that the majority of saloon style cars (those with trunks/boots or without rear hatches) may not usually have hinged rear folding seat bases which would more easily allow access to any seat belt clips.
There are other vehicles in addition to those listed above which also have folding rear seat backs and bases, although I haven’t listed them as they are not commonly used as Taxis.

Ordering specific model Taxis over phone must be done with plenty of notice as these vehicles may not be always readily available in the immediate vicinity. Ideally with experience you will begin to collect contact numbers of taxis you have had experience with, that offer belts for your use. Once you are more familiar with specific drivers, you can order them directly or if commuting at set times of day you could arrange a standard monthly payment to drivers to manage any work commutes, school runs etc. Remeber to ask for numbers of drivers you are impressed with. I used to offer additional tips to those who had their rear belts for use. It wasn’t so much to praise them, but in the hopes that they would then inform others of their tip and the reason for it.

In addition to taxis, buses and MRT (subway) can offer an alternative means of transport that although may not always be as useful, fulfil the needs of many who wish to travel the city without the hit and miss experiences associated with taxi drivers. Having said that a good deal of bus drivers may exhibit signs of road rage, poor signalling, and poor driver skills at any given time. At least a bus is more sturdy when colliding with smaller forms of transport however.
Do be sure to remain cautious of long distance coaches. They have an ill reputation for crashing and/or speeding. Drivers may often drive tired or drunk, or high on legal substances.

I hope this limited information can be of some use.

Wow, the photos are great (had not heard of the Wish), and taxis strategies sound good - some things I had wondered about (hotel, contacting hotel, retain #s) but wasn’t sure how things really worked on the ground. Good tip on saloon style cars backsesat logistics, makes sense now that I think about it but hadn’t dawned on me from the couch. Will also see if I can make some headway on retaining same driver if a particular car/driver combo works out.

Sure we’ll encounter some interesting obstacles but at least we’re a bit more prepared. Thanks you again!!! Will try to post later this year with an update (sure you’ll laugh). CTMom.

P.S. Will try to take public transport in city if possible just don’t think it will work at all times (based on prior exp). Don’t think we’ll take long-haul coach but good to know…ugh.

I don’t need to wear a seat belt in the car because it has airbags. If you look at your car’s manual, you’ll probably see that yours has them too.

I find seat belts annoying because if I want to lean forward quickly to look out of the right window at a junction, sometimes it stops me leaning forward enough to see which really annoys me. Of course I used to wear them when I was driving excessively fast on country lanes in the UK, but I would never wear one just to go to the shops.

I feel the same about motorcycle helmets, it should be up to you to wear one or not. If you’re going to cane it, safety gear is a must, but for a trip to 7-11 it’s just an annoyance to me.

I do make sure my baby is strapped into a safety seat at all times though, even though my wife wants to hold her in the front seat. I don’t want her to get crushed if the air bag goes off you see…

I forgot to mention that my dad never had a car with seat belts in the back until I was 12 and I’m still here! No one used to give a shit about it in the 80s. My grandad calls me a big girl for not driving when I’m pissed up!

Forgive me if I read what you said without my sense of humour, but are you serious? I didn’t notice any emotiocon hinting otherwise.

Airbags are set to accelerate faster than a belted body and should begin deflating just as the body or face begins to come in contact with one in an accident situation, so as to provide a greater surface area to strike as well as a relatively soft area and at the same time reduce seat belt stresses on the torso, keeping at least the face and, or body from striking hard interior surfaces, and surfaces which also may be accelerating inwards, into the vehicle cabin.

As airbags are designed to deploy with accuracy to within ten thousands of a second and to work in conjunction with the use of safety belts, they can literally be lethal when deployed in cases where the vehicle occupant is not belted up. In fact in cases have been the greatest lethal element in the accident and have resulted in many deaths where the occupant(s) were not properly belted. If you look at the vehicle’s manual, you should be warned about wearing seatbelts in an airbag equipped vehicle.

People have lost faces and have been killed at low impact speeds when driving without seat belts in airbag vehicles.

Top Tip: Wear the seatbelt if you have a vehicle with airbags, as it will save you from the airbag itself. If you don’t agree to wear a seatbelt, then the least you can do is drive a vehicle that doesn’t have airbags.

I should also mention that it is often the case where unbelted occupants of cars become the projectiles which often kill other belted or unbelted occupants in the vehicle. Never underestimate the forces associated with acceleration and deceleration in a crash scenario and most often the total lack of control an occupant will have in these high stress environments. Even if you don’t care about yourself in a crash situation, you might spend a thought to others that your body might potentially kill given such an event.

Please buckle up!

Don’t worry, I’m not an idiot. I always make the person sitting behind me wear their seat belt so they can’t crush me if I crash!