It is three decades since legislation was introduced to make it illegal to drive on Britain’s roads without wearing a seatbelt. Countless lives are thought to have been saved as a result of that 1983 law but there are still far too many instances of people being seriously injured or killed road traffic accidents because they were not wearing seatbelts. Aside from the obvious human impact of these accidents, the continued failure to wear seatbelts has significant effects upon the insurance industry and the compensation payable in road traffic accident claims.
Research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents found that nearly 2 in 3 road casualties included those in cars. Of nearly 135,000 injuries or deaths on UK roads in 2010, drivers accounted for around 90,000. As a result, it is clearly crucial that car drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, however over 200 deaths each year are still attributable to failures to wear seatbelts (according to the Department for Transport).
Over 95% of front seat car occupants and nearly 90% of rear seat passengers wear seatbelts but these figures are still not high enough and preventable deaths are still occurring. 2 in 10 motorists admit to knowing someone who doesn’t wear a seatbelt and 14% own up to not belting up regularly.
Many believe that young people are to blame for the statistics but this is not necessarily the case. Whilst it is true that young people have the most accidents and are the most likely not to wear seatbelts, 11% of over 55s also fail to wear seatbelts.
A 1991 law made rear seatbelt wearing compulsory as well and very few people are permitted not to belt up today. Exemptions are sometimes granted on for health reasons but even then documentation must be kept in the car to prove it.
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