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Royal award highlights the importance of seat belts

13 August 2009

His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent has made a special awarded to Volvo Cars this to mark the 50th Anniversary of the invention of the three-point safety belt and in recognition of the company’s vision to design cars that should not crash.

Announcing the award on the anniversary of the fitment of the first three-point safety belt which was invented by Nils Bohlin, a Volvo Engineer in 1959, The Prince, Royal Patron of The Commission for Global Road Safety, who founded his award scheme in 1987 said: "I congratulate Volvo on its outstanding achievement. Its leadership and commitment will make a significant contribution to our aim of saving five million more lives across the world over the next ten years."

Although seat belts have been mandatory in The United Kingdom since 1980, it took until 1989 for regulations to come into effect for mandatory rear seatbelt wearing by children, and until 1999 for it to require all passengers to wear belts a seat belt in the back of cars. However in low and middle-income countries usage rates are generally very low - especially for rear seats where seat belts might not even be fitted. The use of child restraints in motor vehicles varies considerably between countries and is mainly confined to use in high-income countries. The use of child restraints (child seats and booster seats) can reduce infant death in car crashes by 71% and toddler deaths by 54%.

In its call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety, The Commission calls on all governments to set targets for improved road user behaviour including higher seat belt wearing rates.

A practical guide for policymakers providing advice to public authorities on introducing laws and improving seat belt compliance was launched earlier this year.