Seat belts

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Wearing a seat belt saves lives

Seat belts save lives       Since the law to wear seat belts in the front was introduced in 1983, front seat belts are estimated to have saved 50 thousand lives. They have also prevented 590 thousand serious casualties and 1.5 million minor injuries.

50 thousand lives saved equates to 7 lives saved every day for the last 20 years

Source: RoSPA


For your own and others' safety, the law requires you to use a seat belt if one is fitted.

Seat belt wearing in the front seat saves over 2,200 lives every year. Everyone knows they should wear a seat belt in the front seat, but many people still don't realise how dangerous it is not to wear a seat belt in the back.

In a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained, you will hit the front seat, and anyone in it, with a force of between 30 and 60 times your own body weight.

This could result in death or serious injury to you and people sitting in the front seat.

Any compensation for injury following an accident may be reduced if you were not wearing a seat belt

Seat belt use advice ^ Top  

Never put the same seat belt around two children, or around yourself and another passenger (adult or child). Do not allow your child to move up to using the adult belt too early
Drivers and front seat passengers should sit as far back as possible from the steering wheel or dashboard to reduce the possibility of injury in an accident
Lap-and-diagonal belts provide more protection and should be used before lap-only belts
Adjust the seat belt so that the lap belt is as low as possible across the hips bones - not over the stomach. Make sure the diagonal strap lies across the chest and away from the neck. It should slope up and back to the top fixing point and not be twisted. In many cars, you can adjust the height of the top fixing point to make this easier. Do not leave any slack in the belt.
The centre rear seats of many cars are fitted with a lap-only seat belt that must be adjusted manually. It is important that you adjust such belts for a snug fit over your hips

Firefighters release a victim from their vehicle using high-tech cutting equipment      
Did you know that:
  • As many as 15 front seat occupants are killed annually by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger
  • Women (94%) are more conscientious than men (86%) at wearing a seat belt

Source: RoSPA


Pregnant women ^ Top  

The lap strap should go across the hips, fitting comfortably under the bump, while the diagonal strap should be placed between the breasts and around the bump.

Like all drivers or passengers, pregnant women must wear a seat belt, unless their doctor certifies that they are medically exempt - there is no automatic exemption. Wearing one may not be comfortable, but it improves safety for both mother and unborn baby.

Airbags ^ Top  

Studies show that airbags reduce severe head injuries in accidents. However airbags are NOT substitutes for seat belts - they are designed to work with them.

Given the speed and force with which an airbag inflates, it is vitally important that you always wear your seat belt and that you do not sit too close to the steering wheel or dashboard. We recommend that the distance between the centre of the steering wheel to your breastbone should be at least 10 inches (25cm).


Remember: Always wear a seat belt when travelling in the front, or the rear, of a vehicle that has seat belts fitted.

Always make sure that children travel in an appropriate child restraint or in a seat belt if they are too big for a child restraint.

Further information

Child Restraint Systems