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Seat Belt Safety Enhanced

24 August 2018

 As reported by ETSC The EU is set to adopt 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.

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.

The seatbelt remains the single most effective passive safety feature in vehicles.  As shown in research available on The Road Safety Observatory, 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.

Despite the legal obligation to wear a seatbelt across the EU28, seatbelt use in cars in the EU is estimated to be only 88% for front seats and as low as 74% for rear seats in the countries that are monitoring wearing.

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