Let’s save four lives every week by ensuring we all belt up on road journeys

Posted on March 19th, 2014 by GEM Motoring Assist

ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to reduce their risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road crash, simply by ensuring they wear a seatbelt on every journey.  Estimates show this would save around 200 lives every year on the UK’s roads.

The call comes as statistics from the Republic of Ireland show that nearly one in five vehicle occupants killed in crashes during 2013 was not wearing a seatbelt.

Figures from the Department for Transport* show you are twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt. Currently, the penalty for failing to wear a seatbelt is a £100 fine, but without the imposition of penalty points.

GEM chief executive David Williams MBE says: “Although compliance rates for front seat occupants in the UK stand at 95%, we believe it’s vital to ramp up the pressure on those who still see seatbelt-wearing as an option rather than a requirement, and who choose not to bother.

“We know that a combination of legislation, enforcement and awareness raising is vital for increasing compliance rates; that’s why we would like to see the current non-endorsable £100 fine to attract penalty points. Penalty points for the non-use of seatbelts are now included in the road traffic penalties of France, Ireland, Hungary and Latvia, and we would like to see the UK government adopt a similar stance, further reinforcing the effectiveness of the seatbelt as a potential life saver in a road traffic collision.

“At the start of any road journey, however short, simple or familiar, no one can possibly know what hazard or danger may be about to present itself.  Our advice to those who won’t belt up is simple: why not double your chance of staying safe, for the sake of your loved ones if not for yourself?”

Seatbelt facts:

  • The law states you must wear your seatbelt, and are responsible for ensuring all passengers under 14 years of age are wearing theirs, as well.
  • Failing to do so can result in a fine of £100 or up to £500 if you are prosecuted.
  • Seatbelt use became compulsory in 1983. Since then, the Government estimates that more than 60,000 deaths have been prevented, as well as nearly 700,000 serious injuries.
  • Airbags work with seatbelts to reduce injuries. They are not an alternative. In fact, drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts are at greater risk of injury in collisions where airbags are deployed.**

(*http://think.direct.gov.uk/seat-belts.html; ** Spine Journal, March 2008)