Greater compliance with seatbelt legislation could help save lives in road crashes says road safety charity RoSPA, as it marks the 30th anniversary of the law coming into force.
Well over 60,000 lives have been saved by seatbelts since January 31, 1983, when the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ then-President, Lord Nugent of Guildford, won the day for compulsory wearing in the front seat of cars by introducing an amendment to the Transport Bill in the House of Lords.
A law making it compulsory to wear seatbelts in the back of cars was introduced in 1991.
There is evidence to show that seatbelt use in Great Britain remains high, with 95 per cent of car drivers and front seat passengers complying with the law.
But RoSPA is concerned that seatbelt use is lower in the rear of cars (89 per cent) and in the front seat of other vehicles (69 per cent).
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Despite the fact that thousands of lives have been saved by seatbelts thanks to RoSPA’s and Lord Nugent’s efforts, latest figures still show that a minority of people are not belting up.
“We must not become complacent over seatbelt wearing; seatbelts are highly effective in protecting vehicle occupants and significantly reduce the risk of being fatally or seriously injured in a crash.
“As television advertisements have shown, an unbelted rear seat passenger can be thrown forward and kill someone in the front of a car. In a crash at 30mph, if unrestrained you will be thrown forward with a force of between 30 and 60 times your own bodyweight.
“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.”