I have just finished reading the July 79 issue of Motor Sport (it takes about three months to get to New Zealand). I read with interest your comment on seat belts (page 952).
The wearing of seat belts has been compulsory in NZ for four or five years now. When first introduced I, along with the majority of the motoring public felt as you do, but we got used it.
When first introduced the law required all drivers of cars first registered alter January 1st 1965 to have fitted and wear at all times seat belts in the front seats of cars. 12 months alter this came in, the law was changed to include all cars first registered after January 1st 1955, this still stands. Also now all cars which have seat belts fitted in the rear (as my own car does) must be worn by passengers at all times also. This I’m still finding rather bothersome but I’m sure in another year or two I won’t mind this.
While in Britain on a working holiday (from June 6th ’77 to July 20th ’78) I had three cars and used the seat belts in these out of the habit I got here in NZ. Although I must admit that I did enjoy not wearing them a few times shortly after I arrived but then went hack to the wearing of them.
Also just one small comment on a letter by G. K. Hall in the same issue on the wearing of crash helmets on motorcycles. We have to here also (since April 1st ’73) but anyone caught not wearing one is only fined, not imprisoned. The fine is the same as that for not wearing your seat belt, $110 (or about £50).
I look forward to my Motor Sport each month (even if it is 3 months alter printing). Keep up the good work.
Christchurch, NZ – J. J. Price
[Readers will be well aware of our opposition to compulsory wearing of seat belts. It worries us even more that they should be made compulsory on older cars, as in New Zealand, many of which weren’t designed structurally, to accept belts – Ed.]