Seatbelt laws ‘have saved thousands of lives’

31st January 2013

Many motorists know of someone who fails to wear their seatbelt when heading out on a road trip, a new survey has highlighted.

Research carried out by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) underlined that 95 per cent of drivers and 96 per cent of front seat passengers claim to buckle up every time they head out on a commute.

However, the study, which was conducted to mark the 30th anniversary since compulsory seatbelt wearing was introduced across the UK, reveals that many law-abiding motorists can identify individuals who choose to ignore the 'clunk-click' rules.

In fact, the IAM's research found that 19 per cent of respondents claim to know someone who opts not to wear their seatbelt even when they are sitting in the front of their car.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, noted that he found it "astonishing" that so many people are still failing to do something as basic as putting a seatbelt on when going on a road trip.

He told the Daily Mail: "We are concerned that there are fewer police out there since the spending cuts and we have not seen as much publicity about the need to wear seatbelts.

"It is a message that needs to be continually repeated and refreshed."

The IAM tried to further stress the need for every person in a car pool to wear a seatbelt, by making reference to a finding in the 2011 Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain report.

According to research in this particular document, more than 220 deaths and serious injuries on the nation's roads on an annual basis can be contributed at least in part to someone not wearing a seatbelt.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond made reference to this point, by stating: "Thousands of lives have been saved and countless injuries prevented over the years because drivers and passengers were wearing seatbelts."

Mr Hammond was keen to note, however, that the combination of stringent enforcement measures and the release of hard-hitting public awareness campaigns over the past 30 years have led to the majority of the UK's road users now buckling up.

"But, unbelievably, there are still some people who do not use a seatbelt – my message to them is simple: a seatbelt could save your life and not wearing one is just not worth the risk," the road safety minister continued.

Drivers have been required by law to wear seatbelts when heading out on the road ever since 1983, though vehicle makers have had to install the equipment to their cars since 1965.

The law was altered once more in 1991, when it was required for adults to buckle up even when they are seated in the back of a car.

Anyone who is found to not have worn their seatbelt on their travels face an on-the-spot fixed penalty of £60, though the Department for Transport has considered increasing this fine to £90 ever since last year.

Drivers can ensure their car is safe for the road by opting for vehicle maintenance servicing with ATS Euromaster.

Posted by Motorists have been reminded of the importance of wearing a seatbelt