A quarter of people who die on Britain’s roads aren’t wearing a seatbelt

By 21st May 2024June 13th, 2024No Comments
Picture of individual fastening their seatbelt in a car.

In the year ending June 2023 there were an estimated 1,633 fatalities on roads in Great Britain (GB), many of which could have been prevented by wearing a seatbelt. In fact, work-related road collisions are estimated to contribute to a third of all GB road deaths and a fifth of serious injuries, new research suggests. The way seatbelts work is simple: they prevent drivers and passengers from hitting the inside of the vehicle or being thrown out of a vehicle in the event of a collision. However, many drivers are choosing to compromise their own safety, and the safety of others, by not fastening their seatbelt.

The law requiring drivers and all adult passengers in both the front and back to wear a seat belt came into force in 1991, and failure to comply could result in an on-the-spot fine of £100, or you could be fined up to £500 if prosecuted – not to mention the added reputational damage. Research from the charity Brake and AXA UK reveals that 96% of drivers surveyed said they wear a seatbelt, but this may not be the reality of every single journey. Young male drivers were brought to the attention of the report, with concern shown that they’re less likely to always wear a seatbelt, whether driving or a passenger.

For a complete look into the report, click here

As a fleet manager, it’s your duty to ensure your business drivers understand the importance of always wearing a seatbelt. In the event of a collision, they can reduce the risk of serious injury by up to 50%. Also, don’t underestimate reiterating the importance of additional safety features, such as head restraints to your drivers. They help protect against whiplash and other injuries – yet only 55% of those surveyed in the report said they always check their head restraint is set at the correct height, and only 39% always check passenger head restraints.

Operation Ping detects fleet drivers not wearing a seatbelt 

In 2023, National Highways launched a 12-week pilot project which used multiple sensors and cameras on the strategic road network (SRN) to detect and flag dangerous fleet driving behaviour, such as using a mobile phone whilst driving, or not wearing a seatbelt. Data was then shared with the fleet operators so that they could identify and contact their drivers and take action to prevent and deter unsafe driving behaviours.

Find out more here.

The report from Brake and AXA UK would like to see an extension to this project, helping every organisation that employs professional drivers to manage work-related road risk – including encouraging seat belt use. This is a project that IAM RoadSmart supports to assist in our mission of reaching zero road deaths.

Nicholas Lyes, Director of Policy and Standards at IAM RoadSmart, adds: “For the vast majority of us, belting up when we get into a vehicle has become second nature. However, there remains a minority who are seriously risking their lives as well as others. Out of all car occupant fatalities, nearly a quarter of those killed were not wearing a seatbelt and this rises to a third among those aged 17-29. Camera technology is becoming far more intelligent and has already captured those breaking seatbelt laws – something that fleet operators are finding out and taking steps to address.”

IAM RoadSmart offers a range of products to help ensure your fleet stays safe, compliant, and well trained for driving on UK roads. To find out how we can help your fleet, please get in touch.

James Wallis

Author James Wallis

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