Eleven percent of motorists do not wear seatbelts in the back of cars, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has revealed. Five percent follow suit in the front. Furthermore, the safety charity has claimed that thirty-one percent in the front of “other vehicles” fail to wear three point harnesses. This, of course, is extremely dangerous. The purpose of seatbelts is to prevent motorists moving excessively during accidents. This enables them to benefit from other safety features such as air-bags and crumple zones. Far preferable to being propelled through windscreens. Furthermore, those in the front - even if buckled-up - can be killed or injured by rear passengers if the latter move forward due to lack of restraints. It has therefore been a legal requirement to wear belts in the front of cars since 1983. This followed the efforts of Lord Nugent of Guildford - then President of The Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents - who championed an amendment to the Transport Bill. The law was then extended to rear passengers in 1991.
Safety Charity Advises Motorists To Wear Seatbelts
Kevin Clinton, The Royal Society's Head of Road Safety, said: “Figures still show that a minority of people are not belting up.” He added: “We must not become complacent over seatbelt wearing. Seatbelts are highly effective in protecting vehicle occupants and significantly reduce the risk of being fatally or seriously injured in a crash. In a crash at thirty miles per-hour - if unrestrained - you will be thrown forward with a force of between thirty and sixty times your own bodyweight. Ultimately, the benefits of seatbelts need to be promoted and the perceived reasons for not wearing seatbelts reduced, particularly when it comes to educating children. Adults can set an example by wearing their own seatbelts so that children understand the necessity for them as they grow older.”
Volvo – or to be precise Nils Bohlin from Volvo – invented the three-point seatbelt
in the late fifties. The manufacture then permitted its competitors to copy the design in the interest of road safety. This gesture must have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Inevitably though, seatbelts have evolved since the fifties. As such some now have pre-tensioners which limit motorists' movements during accidents by tightening across their chests. These operate via small explosive charges. Furthermore, it is likely that inflatable belts will hit the mass market soon. These reduce injuries by spreading the forces inflicted on motorists over wider areas. So – Mr & Mrs Eleven Percent – buckle-up.