Some motorists can probably remember those memorable adverts; ‘clunk-click with every trip’ in the 1970’s encouraging people to wear their seatbelts. It has been the law for drivers and front seat passengers to wear their seat belts since 1983, with rear passenger under 14 being required to wear them by law since 1989 and adult rear passengers since 1991.
The Safer Roads Partnership and West Mercia Police are launching a new campaign to encourage motorists to belt up. The vast majority of people habitually ‘belt-up’ as soon as they get into a car but many people, especially those travelling in the back, admit that they sometimes don’t for short journeys. According to a recent Dept for Transport study into the use of seatbelts the broad characteristics that relate to non seat belt use are; young men, rear seat passengers, goods vehicle drivers and company car drivers. Journeys taken late at night, early in the morning or within low speed limit areas are situations where low seat belt use is typically seen.
Recent analysis has shown that nationally seat belts were found to be about 60% effective at preventing fatal injuries and about 32% effective at preventing serious injuries. If everyone in the UK wore a seat belt it is estimated that over 350 lives and 1,000 serious casualties could be saved a year.
The campaign will be a combination of education and enforcement and will be run throughout March in conjunction with a national seat belt enforcement campaign being co-ordinated by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers). As a follow on from the main focus on seat belt enforcement all nurseries and primary schools within West Mercia will be contacted with supporting educational material relating to use of car seats and booster seats with children.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership said:
“Although most people do wear their seat belts there are still a few that either choose not to or simply forget. We’re urging both drivers and passengers to ensure they wear their seat belt at all times as it may just give them the added protection they need if involved in a collision. We’re also encouraging parents, carers and professional childcare establishments to check the children they are carrying in their cars are travelling in the correct size car seat and that it is correctly fitted”.
Superintendent Lee Davenport of West Mercia Police comments:
“Enforcing the law on seat belt use will be the primary focus for this campaign and our officers are fully committed to supporting this throughout all areas in West Mercia. Seat belts are an effective means of reducing serious injuries and fatalities and anything we can do to increase their use has got to be a positive step”.
For more information or advice about car seats for children visit www.directgov.uk and search for child car seats.