Road Safety News
 

Half of Medway’s primary pupils say they don’t wear a seatbelt

Tuesday 24th June 2014

 

More than 1,800 schoolchildren in Medway have been taught how important it is to wear a seatbelt – after between half and two thirds admitted to "never wearing one".

Medway’s road safety team has taken its ‘seatbelt sled’ - which simulates the effects of a road collision at just 5mph - to 30 primary schools across the district. Each pupil was given the opportunity to experience a crash on the sled in the hope that experiencing the impact of a low level crash will encourage children to buckle up in the future.

James Sutton, Medway’s principal road safety officer, said: “This is often the first time children will have experienced a low-impact collision but what we find is that between half and two thirds of pupils we speak to openly admit to not wearing a seatbelt.

“The seatbelt sled shows them just how important it is to wear a seatbelt on even a short journey as the most minor of crashes can have a devastating effect.

“Hopefully they can now set a good example to others, not just to their peers but mum and dad as well.”

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The wear rate quoted here doesn't come as any surprise. We see @1500 year 6 children at our annual Junior Citizen event where we use our seatbelt sledge. Amongst reasons given for not wearing, especially in the rear: "Mum (or Dad) says they are good drivers" / "I could hold on" / "The head rest will stop me" / "I only wear it on motorways and then only if the journey is more than about an hour"/ "The airbag will save me" / "It hurts my neck" (ie. absence of booster cushion etc). The list goes on. We also use the sledge at public events when adults say that they 'drive safely' and so "aren't at risk" (?)

Re. Mark's comment: we use a permission/disclaimer which must be signed before going on the sledge.

Parents are the ones who need educating.
Rob Orchudesh, Road Safety Officer, Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

Several years ago one Welsh Authority stopped using their sledge when a user threatened to sue due to whiplash. Not sure if they did, but the sledge was disposed of.
Mark, Caerphilly

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)
0

No surprise here - I go into schools all over London and it's generally higher than 50%. The look of shock horror on the teacher's faces when you ask the children! I agree that TV programmes can have some influence but eyeball to eyeball conversation I feel wins them over if done in a non-patronising way. Well done Medway!
Keith, Buzz Road Safety Education

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)
+1

This data is remarkable and is counter to DfT research on high wear rates (although back seat wear rate is much worse than front seat). This topic must be a high priority but seems to have disappeared from TV screens.

I have a personal bug bear about seeing TV programmes, both factual and fiction, where seat belts are not worn in the back seat. Time for the soaps to run a story line with a "simple" crash that leads to injury?
pete, liverpool

Agree (7) | Disagree (3)
+4