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Thursday, October 16, 2008 

Seatbelts - Syrian style

Seatbelts have always been a bit of a novelty in Syria.
All new cars are fitted with them, but they go unused. Sitting, untouched, by the door.
But that is slowly changing. For years, it has been illegal to drive - or sit in the front passenger seat - without wearing a seatbelt. But the law has never been enforced. Until now.
Police are cracking down. And not just in the cities. Even in the smallest towns, as you go round the central square, the traffic police are busy looking out for anyone not wearing strapped in.
Syria's high road fatality rate has long been blamed on poorly enforced traffic laws. It's hoped this will be a quick way to cut down on the number of deaths.
But not everyone is taking the new rules seriously. As taxi drivers approach the traffic lights, they tell their passengers to belt up. They do the same. Well, they hold the seatbelt across their chest. As soon as they are safely out of the sight of the police - they let the belt fly back into its usual home.

haha...my summer in Syria was all about the "belt"...buckling and releasing!
I've seen the strangest innovations drivers come up with...like the screwdriver hinge...the wrap-around...the easy exit (where the belt is actually cut and the end stuffed somewhere on the side!


When I was back home this summer, I used to walk around with a bag that had a black strap on my shoulder... they never asked me to belt up, because it looked like a seatbelt! ;)

Haha I get to set in the back seat so I wont have to worry about it :D
But yes a couple of times I almost caused my brothers a ticket...it takes time getting used to it but we’re almost there :P



when I'm driving I usually don't start the car until everyone's strapped tight, er.. well, I do, but I remind people politely to buckle up. if they refuse, I ask them again but not so politely (I enjoy being a jerk sometimes) if they start whining about it.. well, they're walking home ;)

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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