they have a seatbelt law in kazakhstan. the law seems to be both enforced and widely flouted at the same time, which makes a pretty entertaining combination. at least to someone as easily amused as me. i've been told that if a police officer sees anyone in the front seats (driver or passenger) of a car, they will be pulled over and fined. it also gives the cop an opportunity to ask for a bribe, so police don't hesitate to find and flag down offenders.
kazakhstanis on the whole, however, seem to hate wearing seatbelts. especially when driving. most of the time that we're in a car they go beltless. until they spot a cop. then they either snap on the belt on or pretend to have it on until they are past the police.
when we took the 4.5 hour trip to turkestan and back, it was entertaining to watch the driver and front seat passenger pull the belt across their bodies every so often. whenever they did, i'd look up and, sure enough, there was a cop. the folks in the front wouldn't latch the belt, they would just hold it so the shoulder strap was visible across their body. once the police were in the rear view mirror they would let go and the seatbelt would snap back to the side of the car. i watched them do it again and again. it seemed like a lot of trouble to go through. wouldn't it be easier just to leave the belt on?
one of the drivers who we use pretty often never wears a seatbelt, nor does he fake it like the others i've seen. at one point i asked our translator about that and she told me that he is a former police officer. all the cops in this town are his friends, they would never pull him over.
or maybe not all of them. once when we were parked somewhere, i noticed the ex-cop driver latched the belt before he started up the car. i looked down the street and there were a bunch of police, including someone who looked like someone important, standing on the sidewalk. the driver's belt came off just after we rounded the first corner.