One of the most basic things everyone can do to increase their safety when on the roads is to wear a seatbelt. Something we’ve all done so many times, it’s become second nature and we hardly think about it. But that small, simple task at the start of every journey can make a big difference.
In 2019, 23% of car occupants killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
Seatbelts are highly effective in protecting vehicle occupants and significantly reduce the risk of being fatally or seriously injured in a crash in conjunction with other in-vehicle safety systems.
Car manufacturers have had to install seatbelts since 1965 but the law requiring drivers and front seat passengers to wear them did not come in to force until the 31st January, 1983. The law changed again in 1989, making it a legal requirement for children travelling in the back of cars to wear seat belts; before a further change to the law in 1991 making it a legal requirement for adults to wear seatbelts in the back of cars.
Seatbelt laws increased seatbelt use and although seatbelt wearing rates are high, not everyone wears one all the time. Seatbelt use in the rear of a vehicle is consistently lower than in the front.
GoSafe and our colleagues and partners across all four Welsh Police Forces will be taking part in the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Seatbelt campaign, which will be taking place across the UK between May 31st – June 17th. The sole aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and reduce death and injury caused by not wearing seatbelts on the roads of Wales. Drivers caught not wearing a seatbelt face an on-the-spot fine of £100, or if prosecuted could face a maximum fine of £500.
During the campaign we will also be educating road users on the importance of seatbelts, encouraging people to change their behaviour and attitude towards seatbelts and enforcing against the minority who refuse to comply with seatbelt laws, putting themselves and others at risk.
Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said:
“I am very pleased to support the NPCC Seatbelt campaign. Road traffic collisions can happen at any time so it is vital that everyone wears a seatbelt on every journey, however short. It is a simple thing to do but it saves lives so remember to ‘buckle up’ and be safe.”
So, before you turn the engine of your car on, make sure you and your passengers wear your seatbelts. The smallest thing can have the biggest impact and really could mean the difference between life and death. Belt up and keep safe on the roads of Wales.