Nearly one in four people killed in cars not wearing seatbelt, figures show

The Department for Transport said 24% of car occupant fatalities in Britain between 2016 and 2020 were not belted up.

28 July 2022

Nearly a quarter of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt, figures show.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said 24% of car occupant fatalities in Britain between 2016 and 2020 were not belted up.

Some 28% of male fatalities were not wearing a seatbelt, compared to 16% of females.

Younger people killed were the most likely to be unrestrained, at 32% of those aged 17 to 29.

Car occupants killed between 8pm and 6am were much more likely to be not wearing a seatbelt (39%) than those who die in crashes at other times (17%).

A survey conducted in autumn last year suggested 95% of drivers and front seat passengers wore a seatbelt, but just 92% of rear seat passengers.

For drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles, who are exempt from the requirement to wear a seat belt, the figure was just 55%.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “Astonishingly, almost a quarter of all road traffic fatalities involved occupants not wearing seatbelts.

“This stark statistic singularly underlines just why seatbelts are a legal requirement, so it’s a real worry that many people still choose not to belt up.

“The fact compliance is much lower for those in the backs of cars, who are less likely to be protected by airbags, and for those who ride in taxis is equally shocking.

“As seatbelts are probably the single biggest life-saving device ever introduced into vehicles, it’s vital the Government, local authorities and the police to continue to reinforce this message.

“Today’s new figures beg the question as to whether a nationwide communications campaign to promote seatbelt use should be rolled out and whether existing laws are a sufficient enough deterrent.”

AA president Edmund King said: “The highest risk appears to be younger drivers at night not wearing seatbelts.

“They might feel invincible and cool sitting in the back of a car without a belt but even a relatively minor collision can throw them forward with the velocity of a small elephant.

“This not only endangers their lives but the lives of the front seat occupants.

“All drivers need to get into the habit of belting up in the back to protect themselves and others.”

Drivers can be fined up to £500 if they are caught not wearing a seatbelt.

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