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19% of people killed in car accidents aren’t wearing a seat belt yet 2 million drivers don’t wear them

The law stating it was compulsory to wear a seatbelt whilst driving – or a front passenger – came about over 30 years ago. Despite this close to 2 million drivers are still failing to buckle up according to a survey conducted by LV= car insurance.

Since 1983 when the law changed, police can stop and fine drivers for not wearing a seatbelt or for not having under 14’s properly restrained in their vehicle. The laws were introduced to improve driver safety and since the introduction the number of motorists killed or seriously injured fell by 50%. Despite these laws 6% of drivers say they do not always wear a seatbelt whilst driving- equivalent to nearly two million motorists overall.

Fixed penalties

Out of the 1,578 people surveyed 47% of drivers didn’t know you could be fined for not wearing a seatbelt, and 180,000 people have already been caught this year and given fixed penalties. These fines amount to £8.2 million in fines alone according to LV car insurance who got information from 28 out of 45 police forces across England, Wales and Scotland. These figures have risen by 17% in the last five years.

Accident Advice Helpline said “The reduction in deaths and injuries since the seatbelt law came into play in 1983 is evidence enough that they’re a vital safety tool. Putting on your seatbelt could help save your life or minimize injuries in the event of an accident so it’s important that they’re worn.”

Almost a quarter of the people surveyed said they do not always wear a seat belt when sitting in the back of a vehicle and 6% of motorists admitted to not wearing them at all. A whopping 42% of people said they didn’t wear one when travelling in a taxi. Amongst those who didn’t wear seat belts a number of reasons were citied: 22% said they were uncomfortable and 32% simply forgot to buckle up.

28% of younger drivers (aged 24-35) said they didn’t wear a seat belt when travelling short distances whilst 13% said they were in too much of a rush to buckle up. 85% of older drivers- over the age of 65- said they find wearing a seatbelt too restrictive whilst a third said they feared they would get stuck in the car if they had an accident.

6% of motorists don’t wear seatbelts

Last year government figures showed that 19% of people killed in car accidents were not wearing seats, which compared to the fact that only 6% of motorists don’t wear them shows you are 3 times more likely to die in an accident if you’re not wearing a seatbelt. Safety experts estimated that half of those people would have survived their crashes had they been wearing seatbelts.

LV managing director John O’Roarke said “Wearing a seat belt can drastically improve your chances of survival in an accident, even if it’s just for a short journey.”

Accident Advice Helpline went on to say that “The research conducted shows that too many people are taking unnecessary risks with their own lives when driving. Wearing a seat belt may one day save your life.”

Philip Goose, senior community engagement officer at Brake, a national road safety charity, said about seatbelts that “Their importance cannot be overstated – it is estimated that between 1983 when seatbelts were made compulsory and 2010 more than 50,000 lives have been saved”.

Source: BBC News