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  • Almost half of car occupants (47 per cent) killed between 6pm and 8am were not wearing seatbelts
  • 4 in 10 young car occupants (17 – 29) killed in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt 
  • One fifth of over-60s killed in a car in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt 
  • One fifth of children (0-16) were not wearing a seatbelt 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has called for a renewed focus on the importance of wearing seatbelts, as statistics published today by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveal an alarming rise in the proportion of deaths among drivers or passengers not wearing seatbelts. 

Figures reveal significant increases in the proportion of car occupant fatalities not wearing a seatbelt across almost all demographics.
The statistics, published today in Reported road casualties Great Britain, annual report: 2021 show that in car occupant fatality records where the presence or absence of a seatbelt was recorded, 40 per cent of young occupants (aged 17 – 29) who were killed in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt, and one in every 5 motorists over the age of 60 who were killed in a collision were not buckled up either. One fifth of fatal crashes involving children also occurred when the child was not wearing a seatbelt. 
Compared to 2020, there was also an alarming 42 per cent increase in deaths concerning night-time (between 6pm - 8am) car users, where it was revealed that almost half (47%) were not securely fastened into their seatbelt when they died. 
For decades, RoSPA has championed seatbelt use, and played an instrumental role in ensuring their inclusion into new vehicles as a requirement (as a three-year trial) when the then-RoSPA President Lord Nugent campaigned for an amendment to the Transport Bill in 1981. 
Five years later, in 1986, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of making seatbelt use mandatory and was enshrined in to British law. 
According to car manufacturer, Volvo, a million lives have been saved worldwide since the invention of its pioneering three-point seatbelt.  
Rebecca Guy, Road Safety Manager, England, said: "RoSPA is deeply concerned by the figures revealed by the Department for Transport today, and believes that the government should be too. Currently, drivers face a £500 fine for not wearing a seatbelt, but perhaps this monetary penalty isn't enough of a deterrent to stop road users from taking risks that put themselves, and others, in danger of harm or worse. 
"We are urging all road users who have a lax attitude to seatbelt use to consider the peril they might inflict by completing the simple precautionary routine of buckling up before they start their engines and use their vehicle. It is vital that all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelt for all journeys, regardless of the length of the trip or road conditions." 

All data from table RAS0711: Proportion of fatalities not wearing seatbelts.

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