Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory in the UK and has been since 31 January 1983
According to the road safety charity Brake, almost half of young drivers in the UK have been in a car with someone not wearing their seatbelt during the past 12 months.
The new survey involved asking 2,000 drivers about wearing seat belts on a journey and the results were published on the 36th anniversary of seat belt laws changing in the UK.
In 1983, it was made mandatory for both the driver and front seat passenger to wear a seat belt and in 1989, it became compulsory for children under the age of 14 to wear a seat belt when travelling in the back.
The Department for Transport (DfT) published their latest road casualty figures last September which showed that more than a quarter of people killed in cars on UK roads in 2018 were not wearing their seatbelt.
Research conducted by Brake found that drivers aged between 18 and 24 were almost three times more likely to travel in a car with someone not wearing their seatbelt compared to drivers in other age groups.
The statistics ‘came as a real shock’ to the charity, despite records by the DfT showing that 27% of those who died in cars in 2017 on UK roads were not wearing a seat belt – an increase of 20% on the previous year.
Overall, 787 people travelling in cars died on UK roads – a 4% drop compared to 2016.
According to the report, around one in four could have possibly been saved if they’d worn their seatbelt.
If you fail to buckle up on a journey, you could receive a £100 fixed penalty notice (FPN) and if the case ends up in court, this could increase to £500.
From those surveyed by Brake, eight out of 10 said they supported the European legislation being passed which would make seat belt reminder systems mandatory in all new cars from September.
“We know seat belts save lives and yet there are still four people a week who needlessly die on our roads when not belted up,” said Josh Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, who also added: “Soon we will see seat belt reminders made mandatory on all seats in new cars – a great step forward.”
Mr Harris does believe the Government should target safety campaigns at younger drivers following the results, so the message that seat belts save lives is heard loud and clear.
Pete Williams, spokesperson for RAC road safety, can’t understand why any driver no matter what their age wouldn’t fasten up their seatbelt but instead put themselves at risk.
“Younger drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents and these findings should perhaps be a prompt to the Government to try and understand on a deeper level why this is the case and what can be done the reduce collision rates among drivers of this age.” said Mr Williams.
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