Overloaded? Well . . . just a bit!

Packing people into a car for a Guinness Book of Records attempt is one thing, but actually driving a car with a passenger-to-seat count of almost 4 to 1 is quite another.

In Alice Springs, Northern Territory Police have charged an 18-year-old woman with a number of driving offences after the five-seat sedan she was driving was found to be carrying 17 passengers.

“We saw a sea of faces looking out the windows,” Sergeant Conan Robertson said.

“We were dumbfounded.”

After pulling over the vehicle, police counted 18 people inside the car including five adults and 13 children, the youngest just five months old.

“It is shocking that people continue to take risks with the lives of their loved ones,” Sgt Robertson said.

“This is an extreme case but unfortunately unrestrained children is still something that we see every day.

“Seatbelts save lives and leaving kids to bounce around unrestrained in a car is not acceptable for anyone.”

In Cape Town, South Africa,  traffic officers pulled over a 14-seater minibus taxi and found it was carrying 32 passengers.

The driver, who was unlicenced, was subsequently arrested and had his vehicle impounded.

And in India, a 28-seat bus was carrying 60 passengers when it toppled into a river, killing 44.

A recent Euro-wide study of car occupancy rates showed a continued decline, with an average 1.45 passengers per vehicle, including the driver.

It was sightly higher in the UK at 1.58, lower in Holland at 1.38.

By comparison, 25 folk in Mainz, Germany, managed to squeeze into an Audi A3, 21 got into a Citroën 2CV in Austria and 42 into a Jaguar XJ6 in the US.

Does anyone remember the Trabant, from East Germany?

Well, 22 people got into a Trabant 601 S in Germany, and 27 into a comparatively huge New VW Beetle.

But they were all just for fun, not going anywhere.

The Alice Springs incident could well be a world record for an overloaded car on a public road.

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