31 January 2013
Greater compliance with seatbelt legislation
could help save lives in road crashes says RoSPA, as it marks the 30th
anniversary of the law coming into force.
It is thought that many thousands of 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
“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.”
View the Scotland version of this press release.