Half of young drivers admit to being
in a car with someone not belted up

31.01.2019

Half of drivers aged 18-24 admit to being in a car with someone not belted up in the past year, according to new research.

Young drivers are nearly three times more likely to be in a car with someone who isn’t belted up compared to all drivers and more than eight times more likely than drivers over 65.

These findings come from a survey of 2,000 drivers, commissioned by Brake and launched on the anniversary of seat belt wearing first being made mandatory in the UK, 36 years ago today (31 January 1983).

These findings follow on from statistics released by the Department for Transport last year, which showed that 27% of the 787 car occupants who died in 2017 were not wearing seat belts. That equals 212 lives which potentially could have been saved if a seat belt was being used, more than four every week.

Most concerningly of all, these statistics showed a 7-percentage point rise on 2016 (20%), indicating that non-seat belt use is increasing.

Brake volunteer, Jeremy Williamson, from the Wirral, has first-hand experience of the devastation that can be caused by not wearing a seat belt. Twenty years ago, four of his friends were involved in a car crash.

Tragically, three of his friends were not wearing seat belts and were all killed, whilst the one car occupant who did wear a seat belt survived.

Tragedy struck Jeremy once again recently, when his brother was killed in a car crash after crashing into a tree on a rural road – he too, was not wearing a seat belt.

Following these devastating losses, Jeremy has put his energies into running his own business, educating young drivers on key road safety messages.

Brake believes that the answer to the growing problem of non-seat belt use lies in the safe system approach to our roads, where vehicles are designed to eliminate risk through technology. European legislation is currently being passed which will make seat belt reminder systems for all seats in new cars mandatory from later this year.

Commenting, 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."

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