30 years of buckling up – but minority still flout laws

12.00 | 30 January 2013 | | 6 comments

On the 30th anniversary of the introduction of seatbelt legislation (31 January), 20% of motorists claim to know someone who still does not buckle-up in the front of a car, according to the IAM.

The IAM also highlights DfT figures which reveal that while 95% of drivers, 96% of front seat passengers and 89% of rear seat passengers wear seatbelts – not wearing a seatbelt is still a contributory factor in more than 220 deaths and serious injuries.

The IAM goes on to highlight that 41% of 18-29 year olds know someone who does not wear a seatbelt in the back of a car compared with 25% of 45+ year olds; and 36% of 16-29 year olds know someone who does not wear a seatbelt in the front of a car compared with 11% of 55+ year olds.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “In the past three decades seatbelts have made a fantastic contribution to road safety success in Britain, helping to save thousands of lives. But the ongoing message needs to be reinforced to all age groups.

“All the modern technology in a new car assumes the occupant is wearing a seatbelt.  Younger drivers know that not wearing a seatbelt is dangerous, but they must still be reminded that no matter where you are sitting in a car, a seatbelt will save your life.”


Kathleen Braidwood, road safety officer at RoSPA Scotland, said: “Despite the fact that thousands of lives have been saved by seatbelts, latest figures still show that a minority of people are not belting up.

“We must continue to make drivers and passengers aware of the importance of seatbelt use. No matter how low the speed at which you are travelling or how short the journey, accidents still happen.

“Ultimately, the benefits of seatbelts need to be promoted, and the perceived reasons for not wearing seatbelts reduced, particularly when it comes to educating children. Adults can set an example by wearing their own seatbelts so that children understand the necessity for them as they grow older.”


For more information contact the IAM.


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    I personally think that if a seat belt is fitted to a vehicle then it must be worn regardless – no exceptions, no excuses. I have always worn a seat belt (where fitted) as I feel safer.

    Phil, Kent
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    I visited a school Friday gone. 7 out of 15 year 5 and 14 out of 30 year 6 admitted to travelling in a car without a seat belt. What are the adults who are driving thinking about? If your passengers are not buckled, don’t take them for a ride!

    Denise, Darlington
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    Were there really only 220 deaths and serious injuries not wearing seatbelts? If 5% of occupants not wearing seatbelts, I would expect more than 5% of occupant injuries to involve seatbelts not being worn. 220 deaths not wearing seatbelts seems an overestimate, but I doubt a mere 220 KSI.

    Dave, Slough
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    I’ve driven 100,000s of miles without seat belts – and still often do, in old cars that cannot sensibly be fitted with them. It doesn’t bother me at all or anyone I know who does the same. But that is because we know and are prepared to accept the greater risk, to be able to enjoy those cars as they were meant to be driven.

    My point is not that seat belts do not reduce casualties, clearly they do, but what proportion of the % recorded not wearing belts (a) are not obliged to and (b) don’t have them anyway? Not insignificant, I would think.

    In the 1960’s my business partner hit a grass verge on a 90 degree bend, in his open Austin Healey S3, took off, the car rolled over 3 times and was written off, he fell out and suffered a stiff neck – you never can tell!

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    Funny how the drivers who don’t use their seatbelts tend also to be the ones who drive in such a way as to actually need to wear them more than most – there will no doubt come a day when their luck runs out.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Amazing really that we still have the situation where taxi drivers don’t legally have to wear one in they have a POB. Any plans from the DfT to address this?

    Surprised no one’s developed system to prevent the car being driven without the seatbelt fastened – surely wiring that little blinking light to the ignition wouldn’t be so tricky!

    Dave, Leeds
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