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Failure To Fasten Seatbelts Still A Significant Accident Risk

Man fastening seatbelt before driving
6th October 2014

The compulsory wearing of a car front seatbelt came into force in Britain on 31st January 1983 and at the back of a car from 1991. As a consequence, over the next twenty years more than 50,000 lives were said to have been saved from death or serious injury when involved in a road traffic accident (RoSPA).

There are an estimated 36 million drivers on today’s roads (according to the RAC Report on
Motoring, 2014), so it’s all the more astonishing that a new survey by LV Insurance has found some 6 per cent of UK motorists are still not wearing a seat belt when driving their car.

In other words, upwards of 360,000 people are putting themselves and others at fatal risk simply because they either forget or deliberately ignore the law. Over the last twelve months alone, 80,000 drivers were fined for not wearing a seatbelt, according to the report.

A “relaxed” attitude

In recent years, concern has grown and stiffer fixed penalties are being proposed over the persistent use of a mobile phone when driving.  It’s deeply worrying that a statutory road safety requirement of wearing a seatbelt is still being flouted by so many who, according to the findings of the LV report, appear to take a “relaxed” attitude to the risk they run.

Around three in ten admit they “forget” to fasten up while just over one five claim that a seatbelt is uncomfortable. More worryingly still, nearly nine in ten of the over 65s said the wearing of a seatbelt was “too restricting.”

Failure to wear a seatbelt is often a key factor associated with road traffic accident data. Motorists are twice as likely to be injured in an accident if they do not wear a seat belt, according to the YouGov Think! Drive safety campaign. The implications for drivers could not be more stark as a Your Legal Friend commissioned poll in July of this year discovered.

“Behaving recklessly”

Our Road Report found that nearly 50 per cent of road users have been involved in a traffic accident, of which, 45 per cent had resulted in an injury. Philip Waters, Your Legal Friend RTA solicitor, expressed his alarm at hearing that UK road users are “behaving recklessly by failing to wear seatbelts.”

Philip’s advice could not be more clear, “Clipping a belt on takes seconds but can save a life. It is paramount that motorists take all possible steps to ensure their own and their passengers’ safety as they take to the roads.”

A research report for the Department for Transport has previously estimated that over 300 more lives could be saved every year if everyone always wore a seat belt.