Mike Waters' blog: 17 August 2010 - Driving home the message about seatbelts
17 August 2010
Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval
Over the last week there's been some positive news to show that overall we really are making progress in road safety in this country but at the same time there have been other reports which show there is still work to be done and that we certainly shouldn't become complacent.
First of all the positive news that provisional figures released last week show that the number of people killed on the roads has fallen again. The statistics released by the Department for Transport at the beginning of the month show that the number of fatalities in road accidents were down by 16% for the 12 months ending March 2010. Total casualties were down 3% and killed and seriously injured casualties down by 6%, compared with the previous 12 months.
Provisional statistics on accidents reported to the police involving drink driving also show that fatalities fell by 5% in 2009 to 380, from 400 in 2008. It is the first time that drink drive fatalities have fallen below 400 in a year.
I think this really does show that the hard hitting drink drive education campaigns are having some effect. However, at the same time as all of these positive figures were released, it was disappointing to see that some drivers are forgetting one of the most important aspects of occupant safety.
It was reported last week that as part of a road safety crackdown, 1600 motorists were caught not wearing a seatbelt on Dorset's roads. The drivers were caught during the first six months of a year-long initiative called 'No Excuse' being led by Dorset Road Safe.
I find is staggering that people would either forget or even more alarmingly choose not to wear a seatbelt. Modern vehicles even have alarms to tell you that you aren't wearing your seatbelt and they are quite difficult to ignore! It is also likely that among those 1600 motorists, some of them must have been driving for business, so it is important that fleet and HR managers remind drivers not to forget the basics.
Anyone in doubt about the importance of wearing a seatbelt should have a look at www.embracethis.co.uk, a Sussex Safer Roads Partnership campaign that has become an award winning internet phenomenon for its powerful demonstration of not wearing a seatbelt.
It is a legal requirement for drivers and also their passengers to use seat belts if they are fitted to the vehicle. The chance of dying in a crash in rear seats is three times higher if seatbelts are not used and as many as 46 front seat passengers or drivers die in crashes each year after being struck by unrestrained rear seat passengers.
Fleets need to make it clear to their drivers that there is never an excuse for not wearing a seatbelt. Manufacturers have invested heavily in improving occupant protection and this is wasted if people don't protect themselves.
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