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Seat Belt Interventions in the News

30 April 2019

Failure to use seatbelts is a major contributing factor to road fatalities. The use of seatbelts has been one of the most effective road safety measures ever implemented, saving more lives than any other intervention. The effectiveness of seatbelts depends upon the type and severity of the crash and the seating position of the passenger: use of seatbelts can reduce the risk of death in a road crash by up to 50% for front seat and 25% for rear seat passengers. Seatbelts prevent being catapulted into the vehicle structure or ejected from the car, which is especially important as passengers ejected from the car die in 75% of cases.

A new report by Direct Line and The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) The Forgotten Road Safety Priority - calls for the introduction of three penalty points for not wearing a seat belt. The report highlights that more than one in four (27 per cent) of those who die in road collisions in Britain are not wearing seat belts, with over 1,200 people killed or seriously injured in road collisions not wearing seat belts.

The Road Safety Observatory highlights that seat belt reminder (SBR) systems can significantly increase seat belt wearing rates . A cross European study found that wearing rates were 97.5% in vehicles fitted with SBR and 85.5% in vehicles without. A study in the USA found that there were 2% fewer driver fatalities in vehicles fitted with SBR, after accounting for differences in vehicle age between cars with and without SBR.

In the front seats, the systems will need to be able to detect a passenger sitting and make an audible warning at the start of the journey if the belt is not attached.  The requirements for rear seats are weaker in that the audible warning will only sound if a belt is unbuckled during the journey.

ETSC reports that The EU has formally agreed updated UNECE regulations on seatbelts that will require seatbelt reminder systems in all front and rear seats on new cars from September 2019. Existing EU vehicle safety rules agreed in 2009 only require seatbelt reminder systems on the driver’s seat.  The updated requirements also include the front and rear passenger seats.

 

 

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