Seatbelt Week! Strap Yourself in and Raise Awareness

Featured image by Alex Kehr

Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) is using this week as a reminder to road users of the dangers of not using a seat belt. It is estimated that a huge two million drivers in the UK still do not wear a seatbelt when they’re driving, risking their own lives for no reason at all.

Sussex Police’s Roads Policing Unit (RPU) have teamed up with Surrey’s DriveSMART and SSRP in an attempt to reach the small but significant percentage of drivers who are determined not to wear seatbelts.  This week (March 12th-18th) is seatbelt week, implemented by TISPOL, the European Traffic Policing Network.

In 1966 it became compulsory by law to wear a seatbelt. In a crash you are twice as likely to die if you do not wear one. Since 1959, when the widely used, Swedish three-point seatbelt design was introduced, the laws surrounding seatbelt use have been introduced into more and more countries and it is estimated that 95% of UK drivers will wear one.

The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seatbelts) Regulation of 1993 requires that all passengers in a car wear a belt, with only a handful of exceptions. In the case of passengers under 14, it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are wearing one. The offence is non-endorsable, as not all passengers necessarily have driving licences, but you can still receive a fine of up to £500 if you commit an offence.

The RPU caught 431 offenders not wearing belts in Sussex in 2017, through the Sussex safety camera team that captures seatbelt offences as part of their day-to-day work. 653 offences were caught on camera last year, including one driver who received a seatbelt fine of £120, as well as £30 for a victim surcharge and £700 in costs after maintaining his innocence all the way to court.

Chief Inspector Warren Franklin said:

“National statistics suggest that drivers and passengers aged 17–34 have the lowest compliance rates, combined with the highest collision rates and you are twice as likely to die in a collision if you are not wearing your belt. Whatever your motivation to wear one – either to save you money from a fine, or to save your life – we are urging drivers to strap in this week and every week. You may think it’s just a short journey home, but it could be a long recovery if you are injured in a collision through not wearing a belt.”

“All vehicle occupants must strap in to save lives. An unbelted passenger could become an in-car missile in a collision, ricocheting around the vehicle at 30-60 times their body weight in a 30mph crash, so do not drive off until everyone is wearing their belt.There have also been changes recently to the child car seat regulations. Read about the new laws here and make yourself aware.

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