Food for thought as the seatbelt law turns 50
January 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the seatbelt law in the UK.
Yet despite the clear safety benefits of buckling up, the Institute of Advanced Motorists says that many drivers and passengers are still travelling without a seatbelt.
Here are some facts that might make people think twice before setting off without a seatbelt in place.
- 1. The first seatbelt law came into force in January 1965, which saw all new cars in the UK required to have seatbelt anchorage points on the outer front seats – and paved the way for far-reaching compulsory seatbelt wearing laws in the decades after.
- 2. In 1967 the law was changed so all new cars were required to have seatbelts fitted. In 1968, seatbelts were required to be retro-fitted to all cars sold from 1965.
- 3. The biggest development in seatbelt development came in 1983 when it became compulsory for front seat occupants to wear one. This Sunday (31 January, 2015) marks the 32nd anniversary of the passing of the front seatbelt law in the UK.
- 4. After the 1983 law was passed, there was an immediate 25% reduction in driver fatalities and a 29% reduction in fatal injuries among front seat passengers.
- 5. In 1989 it became compulsory for all children under 14 to wear a seatbelt in the rear, and finally in 1991 it was required that all rear seat occupants wear a seatbelt.
- 6. Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
- 7. Statistics from the Department of Transport show that of the 232 car occupants killed in 2013 (for which seatbelt data was recorded), 45 were not wearing a seatbelt – a shocking 19%, or nearly one-fifth.
- 8. According to Safer Roads, 2,000 people a year are saved by wearing seatbelts.
- 9. In the event of an accident if unrestrained, you will hit the windscreen, or the front seat in the case of a rear seat passenger at a force of 30 to 60 times your own body weight.
- 10. Research has found that for drivers seatbelts are 50% effective at preventing fatal injuries, 45% effective at preventing serious injuries and 25% effective at preventing minor injuries.