Newly imported cars sit at the port in Beirut, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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With fatalities from traffic accidents remaining at alarming levels, road safety has featured regularly in the news, especially following the government's new, more stringent traffic laws. Yet there remains a glaring absence of regulations on safety gear in cars that allows importers to bring vehicles into the country that lack even the most basic safety features. Ramzi Salameh, executive director of the National Road Safety Council, said the current lack of safety regulations was unacceptable. He called on a minimum of two air bags in each car, but added that even this was insufficient.Meanwhile, road safety instructor Nadim Ghantous told The Daily Star that the current traffic law leaves significant leeway for new car safety regulations. Another noteworthy fact is that the entry-level variants of the same cars that are offered with little or no safety features in Lebanon are sold with six air bags and ABS brakes abroad as standard abroad.When asked whether new-car buyers were aware of this phenomenon regarding safety features in entry-level cars, Naim said, "The citizen is unaware and there is no education on safety here".He added that most buyers of these cars just want a car to take them to and from work.
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