Thousands of British drivers have admitted that they have driven on the road without wearing their seatbelt a new study from Accident Advice Helpline has found.
Have you driven without wearing a seatbelt?
Almost 1 in 4 drivers admit that they have driven in their car without wearing a seatbelt, with it being more common among men where 29% of men admit to having driven without a seatbelt compared to just 17% of women who admit the same thing.
The younger generation are more likely to have driven without a seatbelt with 34% of those aged 16-24 admitting to having done it compared to just 19% of those aged over 55. It was far more common for people to drive without a seatbelt in London with 38% of those living in the capital admitting that they’ve driven without one, compared to just 16% of those living in Scotland and 19% of people living in Wales.
26% of the people who said they had driven without a seatbelt admitted to doing so every single day and a further 12% said that they did so every time that they drove. Despite less women driving without seatbelts they were more likely than their male counterparts to do so often with 32% of women saying they drove every single day without a seatbelt compared to just 22% of men giving the same answer. And 16% of women admitted to doing so every time they drove, compared to just 10% of men.
Situations when people don’t wear a seatbelt
63% of people saying they’d gone round the corner to the shops, 25% admit to doing it on smaller familiar journeys, 13% would drive to work, 10% do the school run and 5% drive home from the pub without a seatbelt. Men are more likely to leave their belt off when driving to work compared to women, 14% compared to 9%.
Only 35% of people admit that they wear a seatbelt every single time they’re moving their car onto their own drive, with 21% stating that they would never wear their seatbelt in this situation.
16% of people wouldn’t wear one when parking in a car park despite the potential risks involved. The younger the driver is the less likely they would be to strap up with 72% of 16-24 year-olds saying they’d do so every single time compared to 80% of 25-34 year-olds, 82% of 35-44 year-olds, 83% of 45-54 year-olds and 87% of those over the age of 55.
People are unaware when you must wear a seatbelt and when you’re allowed to not
Plenty Lots of drivers are unaware of the situations in which you legally have to wear a seatbelt with 33% of people believing that if you’re in a minibus you don’t have to wear a seatbelt which is untrue. This also extended to coaches where 51% didn’t think you had to wear a seatbelt when in fact you do. 23% of people even thought you didn’t have to wear a seatbelt when in a taxi.
44% of people believe that if you’re heavily pregnant you’re exempt from legally having to wear a seatbelt which is again not true, unless your doctor has specifically issued you with a certificate of exemption. Women were understandably more clued up about the rules of driving when pregnant with 63% of women knowing that being heavily pregnant didn’t automatically mean you didn’t have to wear a seatbelt, this contrasts against 50% of men who knew this.
A lot of UK drivers did not recognize the times you didn’t legally have to wear a seatbelt with over 6 in 10 people unaware that you’re allowed to not wear one when reversing and 55% of people didn’t know if you’re driving a goods vehicle on deliveries which is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops that you legally didn’t have to wear a seatbelt.
David Carter of Accident Advice Helpline said:
“Seatbelts are a lifesaving addition to your car and it’s worrying how many people have driven without wearing one. It takes just a few seconds to do up your seatbelt but it could save your life if you happen to be involved in an accident on the road”.
Legal responsibilities of children and seatbelts
When a child is under the age of 14 it is the parent or guardians responsibility to ensure that the child is wearing a seatbelt, meaning if they aren’t, they can be fined. 9 out of 10 people did not correctly identify the age limit with 28% of people believing it was less than 14 years’ of age and 64% of people believing it was older. People aged between 16 and 24 were more likely to answer correctly with 21% knowing the correct age of responsibility compared to just 6% of those aged between 35 and 44.
Most people thought a child only became responsible for themselves they hit either 16 (35%) or 18 (35%). Worrying 10% of people thought that a child became responsible for themselves wearing a seatbelt at just 10 years of age.
It seems that a lot of people are willing to speak out if one of their passengers wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when driving with 82% of people saying that they’d ask them to fasten it and not leave until they did. Women were more strict on this with 85% of ladies saying they wouldn’t leave compared to 79% of men.
People were less likely to ask a driver to buckle up though with 7 out of 10 people saying they would always ask the driver to buckle up if they were a passenger and noticed the driver wasn’t wearing one. 14% of people said it would depend upon the length of the journey and 10% of people wouldn’t say anything as it would be awkward.