Drivers still ignoring seatbelt rules introduced by former Blackburn MP

7:00pm Monday 4th February 2013

By Lisa Woodhouse

LIVES are still being lost by people not wearing seatbelts — despite the law being brought in 30 years age this week.

The compulsory wearing of seatbelts came into effect in 1983 following a campaign spearheaded by former Blackburn MP Barbara Castle.

But research has found that one in five motorists claim to know someone who doesn’t use one in the front of their car.

East Lancashire road safety campaigner Steve Johnson said seatbelts were one of the best inventions to save lives.

He said: “You are four times safer in a crash when wearing a seatbelt. It’s a no brainer.

“Something so simple could be the difference between life or death.

“People are arrogant. They don’t think they will be involved in a crash while just nipping to the shop around the corner. The truth is you never know when you’re going to crash.”

He said younger people, aged 14 to 17, were the worse culprits for flouting the law.

He said: “Drumming the safety message into children of this age is the responsibility of the parents. It’s a very simple thing that can save lives. Young people are brought up in this video game age when they can press the reset button. They need to realise that in the game of life there is no replay. It’s game over.”

The latest figures show 95 per cent of drivers and 96 per cent of front seat passengers wear a seat belt, while 89 per cent of rear seat passengers use one.

Yet every year, not wearing a seatbelt is still a contributory factor in more than 220 deaths and serious injuries nationally.

A higher number of younger motorists know someone who does not wear a seatbelt compared to the older age group.

Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seat belt wearing rates combined with the highest accident rates.

Yet 14 per cent of adults still admit to being inconsistent seat-belt wearers.

Institute of Advanced Motorist chief executive Simon Best said: “In the past three decades seatbelts have made a fantastic contribution to road safety success in Britain helping to save thousands of lives. But the ongoing message needs to be reinforced.”

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