If you are involved in a crash at 30mph and you are unrestrained, you will hit the dashboard or seat in front (and anyone in it) with a force of up to 60 times your own body weight.
Wearing seatbelts in the front seat saves over 2,200 lives every year, with over 50,000 lives being saved since the laws on compulsory seatbelt use in the front seat were introduced in 1983, and for back-seat passengers in 1991.
However, many people still know someone who refuses to belt up while driving or travelling in a car. A survey in Somerset revealed that:
- 41% of 18-29 year olds
- 25% of 45+ year olds and
- 11% of 55+ year olds
know someone who does not wear a seat belt.
Data obtained in Somerset also showed that up to 25 per cent of vehicles using the roads in certain areas contain at least one person who is not wearing seatbelts. This is a markedly higher failure to wear rate than other previous research has identified.
In previous studies, it was thought that the national seatbelt-wearing rate was around 70-80 per cent, so the Somerset results have proved shocking to road safety professionals and police alike.
Somerset Road Safety and Avon and Somerset Constabulary are working together to increase awareness, detect offenders and educate road users in a series of roadside initiatives and planned seminars across the county. A Somerset Road Safety spokesperson said: “This situation is causing untold injury and distress to large numbers of people living in Somerset, and we want our roads to be a safe place for residents. This exciting new initiative combines our resources and those of the Police to tackle this problem and reduce our casualty rates.”
For more information on any of the issues raised in this article or on road safety week in general, please contact our Personal injury and accident claims team or call 0117 904 6000.
For more information on Road Safety Week 2016, visit their website.