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Company drivers fail to obey the seatbelt law

1 February 2008

Welcoming the news today that twenty five years of seatbelt wearing laws have helped save 60,000 lives, RoadSafe reminds all drivers and employers that they have a duty to ensure that belts are worn by all who travel in cars.

According to Government statistics (1) seatbelts have prevented an estimated 60,000 deaths and 670,000 serious injuries since 31 January 1983 when seatbelts were made mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers. Research (2) shows 9 out of 10 people agree it is dangerous to travel in the back of a car without a seatbelt but only 7 in 10 adults actually wear belts when sitting in the back. However further research (3) has shown that four groups have low belt wearing rates – young men, rear seat passengers, company drivers and goods vehicle drivers.

The business case for adopting good practice is also very clear. Some fourteen thousand road deaths and serious injuries occur involving vehicles driven on company businessand this is a significant financial burden for businesses. The RoadSafe led Driving for Better Business programme works with business leaders to promote better practice.

Adrian Walsh the programme director said:  ‘The high incidence of company drivers who fail to belt up indicates a lax attitude – it is the clear responsibility of management to change this for the better’

1. Research on numbers of lives saved by seatbelts conducted by TRL Ltd (formerly the Transport Research Laboratory). Report TRL 563 available on-line at The Transport Research Laboratory.

2. Research on views on seatbelts conducted by BRMB in November 2007reveals that 9 out of 10 people agree it is dangerous to travel in the back of a car without a seatbelt but only 7 in 10 adults actually wear belts when sitting in the back.

3. Fieldwork from  a TRL programme working in partnership with SHM, on a further DFT funded project to identify who doesn’t wear a seat belt and reasons why they don’t.  TRL News January 2008

4. Driving for Better Business is a network of employer champions who promote good practice in order to catalyze a reduction in deaths and injuries caused by vans and cars used for business purposes. By employing sound Work Related Road Safety (WRRS) risk management systems, companies can increase efficiency, produce better financial results, improve staff motivation and develop a better corporate image

5. For full details of seatbelt wearing rates from 1982 to 2007.

6. Penalties: Those convicted in court of a seatbelt wearing offence face a maximum fine of £500. If a Fixed Penalty Notice is offered and accepted, then the fine is £30.

7. In 2005, the official motoring offences figures show that there were 235,000 Fixed Penalty Notices issued, 5,900 court proceedings and 4,200 written warnings.

8. Every year more than 14,000 road deaths and serious injuries occur involving vehicles driven on company business. The Government has launched an initiative to reduce this total.

Seatbelt facts:

* 75 % of passengers thrown from a car die. Unbelted occupants are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a car.

* In a crash at 30mph, if unrestrained, you will be thrown forward with a force up to 60 times your own bodyweight.

* The latest surveys show 93 per cent of adult front seat passengers and 94 per cent of drivers wear seatbelts. For back seat passengers, 93% of children (under 14) and 70% of adults are secured.

* All the safety features you paid for in your car were tested with the assumption you would be wearing a belt. Without a seatbelt, those safety features are not designed to work.

* If you are not wearing a seatbelt and you have a crash, there may be implications for how much your insurer might pay in respect of injuries.

* Once one person puts their seatbelt on, everyone else in the car is more likely to do so.

Source Department for Transport