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The importance of buckling up

   The importance of buckling up

The UK is currently in the throes of a general election campaign. Part and parcel of this is that political parties and their leaders will be scrambling to get content out on social media to appeal to voters.

The frenetic nature of political campaigning almost guarantees that gaffes will occur. One prominent example came on Thursday October 31, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson uploaded a video of himself explaining why he was asking voters to return to the polls from the back of his chauffeur-driven, bullet-proof limousine. Commentators were quick to point out that the PM was apparently not wearing a seatbelt during his video. Boris appeared to not be wearing seatbelt again on his way to Buckingham Palace on November 6.

But why is this a problem?

Quite simply, not wearing a seatbelt in a car is both unsafe and illegal except for in a few extenuating circumstances.

Seatbelts – the law

Wearing a seatbelt in a moving vehicle has been a legal requirement ever since the late RoSPA President, Lord Nugent secured an amendment to the Transport Bill 1981 for a trial period for three years. In 1986 MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the requirement permanently.

You are excused from wearing a seatbelt if you have a recognised medical condition. A doctor can issue a Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing. This certificate must be kept in your vehicle so you can show it to the authorities if you are stopped.

Drivers can be fined up to £500 and have points issued on their licence if they or their passengers are found to be unlawfully not wearing a seatbelt.

Seatbelts and safety

The laws of physics mean that unrestrained passengers will continue to travel forwards despite their vehicle suddenly stopping. They only come to a stop when they crash - with potentially lethal force - into whatever is in front of them. An unrestrained box of tissues travelling at 30mph can weigh as much as a house brick in an emergency stop.

All the evidence tells us that you are more likely to be killed or seriously injured if you are involved in a road accident and not wearing a seatbelt. According to data collected by the Department for Transport, 27 per cent of the 787 car occupants killed in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 were not wearing a seatbelt.

According to Volvo, a million lives have been saved worldwide since the invention of its pioneering three-point seatbelt. Now a legal fixture in all UK cars, the three-point seatbelt was originally designed by Volvo in 1959.   
A three-point seat belt, also called a lap/shoulder belt, includes a lap belt and a shoulder belt and has three attachment points, one near each hip and one over a shoulder. In the event of road accident, the three-point belt provides more protection than a two-point belt. This is because three-point seatbelts spread the stopping force across the pelvis and upper body.
So as the UK buckles up for an intense few weeks of election campaigning, RoSPA urges everyone to remember to stay safe and wear a seatbelt on the road.

Errol Taylor, chief executive, RoSPA
Posted: 11/7/2019 11:58:50 AM 0 comments


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