In an unannounced operation, Medan traffic police have started ticketing drivers not wearing seat belts.
Dozens of drivers caught out in the operation on Wednesday expressed surprise at being pulled over.
Ismet Batubara, one of the ticketed drivers, said he was not aware the regulation on the mandatory use of seat belts for drivers and front seat passengers had come into effect on Wednesday.
"I was on my way to the hospital as I was in urgent need of medical attention. I wasn't wearing my seat belt as it's so close," he said on Jl. Diponegoro.
Coordinator of the operation First Insp. Adi Suwitno said the idea was to shock drivers into the habit of buckling up.
Based on Law. 14/1992 on traffic, drivers who violate the seat belt regulation can be fine up to Rp 1 million (US$100) or sentenced to up to one months' imprisonment.
Adi said that the operation, conducted on Wednesday on Jl. Diponegoro and Jl. Putri Hijau in Medan city, would last for a month, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"Drivers who are ticketed will need to show up in court," Adi told The Jakarta Post, adding that Medan District Court would hear the cases within the next three weeks.
He said the police and the Medan Transportation Office had raised public awareness of the regulation.
Deputy chief of Medan Police's traffic division Adj. Comr. Safwan Khayat said the operation, which only targeted private cars on Wednesday, involved 30 traffic police officers and 100 officers from the transportation office.
He said all drivers but public transportation drivers would be targeted in the coming days. But bus drivers would be the focus in March.
Source: Jakarta Post