Gloucestershire road safety seatbelt reminder, 30 years on
As the seatbelt law marks its 30th anniversary today, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership is reminding people who don't obey it that they risk prosecution - and their lives.
In 1983, regulations for the wearing of front belts came into force for an initial three-year trial. Since then, evidence indicates that around 300 lives could have been saved each year if all car occupants had belted up.
Echoing the national picture, drivers and passengers between the ages of 17 and 34 are the most likely not to wear a seatbelt and the most likely to be involved in an accident.
Head of the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, Dave Hornibrook, said: "Although many people wear their seatbelts, there are still some who either choose not to or simply forget. Nationally and across Gloucestershire, there are still collisions occurring where people haven't worn their seatbelt, and the injuries sustained could have been avoided if seatbelts were used.
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"The clear message from us is to always wear a seatbelt on every journey you make, simply because in a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't. Not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal or life-changing decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds."
Today, drivers and passengers who don't wear seatbelts are breaking the law and face an on-the-spot fine of £60. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
Chief Inspector Jason Keates of Gloucestershire Police said: "I'm hopeful the message about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt is beginning to get through now. When our traffic officers are out and about it is certainly one of their key priorities to stop anyone who is not wearing a seatbelt or travelling with passengers who aren't wearing seatbelts.
"Over the years I have attended the scenes of many collisions where someone's life could have been saved if they had worn a seatbelt. I can reassure everyone we are very passionate about making sure people don't take these risks as we see the misery that can be caused by the death of a loved one in a collision."
Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet member for communities, said: "It takes nothing to put on a seatbelt, and yet there are still some people who risk their lives by failing to.
"This 30-year-old law is as relevant today as it was when it was first made so, though it has saved many lives in this county alone, one death due to not wearing a belt is one too many."