Half of drivers aged 18 -24 admit to being in a car with someone not wearing a seatbelt in the past year according to a survey of 2,000 drivers, conducted by road safety charity Brake.
Young drivers are nearly three times more likely to be in a car with someone who hasn’t belted up than all other age groups, and more than eight times more likely than drivers over 65.
The survey was published on the 36th anniversary of seat belt wearing becoming compulsory in the UK.
The survey results come after the latest casualty statistics from the Department for Transport show that 27% of the 787 occupants who died in 2017 were not wearing seat belts. This equates to 212 lives that could have been saved if a seat belt was being used, more than four people every week. This is in comparison to 20% in 2016.
Failing to wear a seatbelt carries an on-the-spot fine of £100, which can rise to £500 if the case goes to court.
Josh Harris, director of campaigns for Brake said, “Seat belt wearing became compulsory almost 40 years ago and so it comes as a real shock to hear half of young drivers admit they’ve been in a car with someone not belted up in the past year.
“We know seat belts save lives and yet there are still four people a week who needlessly die on our roads when not belted up. Soon we will see seat belt reminders made mandatory on all seats in new cars – a great step forward.
“Unfortunately, we’ve found that young people are most exposed to this issue and they are far less likely to be purchasing new vehicles. We need the government to target safety campaigns at the younger generations to make sure they hear loud and clear that seat belts save lives.
“Ultimately every death on the road is preventable but a death of someone not wearing a seat belt could so easily be avoided.”
RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams said the figures should prompt government action.
“Buckling up takes seconds and saves lives, and it is difficult to comprehend why a driver or passenger of any age would choose not to do this and put themselves at risk.
“Perhaps young drivers feel they are so cocooned in modern vehicles that boast a myriad of safety features that they don’t need to worry about the basics like using a seatbelt, and it might also explain why many people continue to believe they can safely multitask while driving, like using a handheld mobile phone.
“Younger drivers are disproportionately involved in accidents and these findings should perhaps be a prompt to the Government to try and understand on a deeper level why this is the case and what can be done the reduce collision rates among drivers of this age.”
Source: ADI News
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