New rules require all vehicles to carry handy fire extinguishers in S. Korea

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2018-11-01 16:58 Updated : 2018-11-01 16:58
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[Gangwon Highway Police Patrol]

SEOUL -- All South Korean vehicles may have to carry at least one portable fire extinguisher designed to fit into the glove box or a door storage compartment under new rules proposed by firefighters amid widespread public concerns about a string of engine fires involving BMW cars.

If a related bill wins parliamentary approval, new regulations will be enforced next year, requiring drivers to place at least one fire extinguisher within an arm. The National Fire Agency (NFA) said in a statement Thursday that government agencies and police have already been notified of strengthened rules.

NFA data showed that five-seater cars accounted for 47.1 percent of some 30,700 cars which have caught fire on the road since 2012. The current law requires vehicles with more than seven seats to have a fire extinguisher, but there is no clause on where it should be installed.

In a government survey in July, 65.6 percent did not know whether a fire extinguisher should be installed. However, dozens of BMW cars caught fire on the road this year in South Korea, leading to a recall of some 170,000 vehicles and raising public awareness about the installation of handy fire extinguishers in cars.