Reducing child road accident rates is one of the biggest challenges worldwide. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated, using child restraint systems reduces the likelihood of a fatal accident by approximately 90% for infants and between 54% and 80% for very young children. Faced with such data, what measures can be taken in order to bring about a more widespread use of seat belts and child car seats?
Despite the numerous benefits, only 53 countries have regulations for CRS based on the age, weight and height of the child, according to the latest WHO report. It is undoubtedly of the utmost importance in order for children to be well-protected. This shows that there is still a long way to go in order for the use of child restraint systems or seat belts for children to become commonplace.
The European Transport Safety Council, (ETSC) outlines a series of actions that can help to bring about more widespread use of child car seats and seat belts. These measures are contained in the study entitled “How monitoring observance of the rules of the road contributes to road safety” (Spanish) carried out by Fundación MAPFRE, in collaboration with the University of Seville and the Civil Guard Traffic Division, which reveals that the monitoring of the observance of the rules of the road carried out by the Civil Guard has prevented 510 fatalities between 2006 and 2015.
Measures in order to bring about more widespread use of chils car seats and seat belts
- Intensive controls of the use of seat belts and CRS during a number of weeks of the year, together with the rolling out of publicity campaigns.
- Ensure that all the drivers and passengers of cars stopped by the police, for any reason, are wearing their seat belts. Check that child restraint systems are also being used.
- Include offences related to seat belt use in the points on the license system.
- Produce annual statistics on the rates of use of child car seats and seat belts within different categories.
- Have good practice guides on the use of seat belts and the related penalties which have proved successful in each country.
- Encourage Member states to hit high standards in terms of the applicable methods and practices and foster greater convergence of standards.
- Extend the obligatory installation of seat belt reminders to all the vehicle's seats.
- Promote the development of restraint systems which adapt to the user's needs and encourage the use of seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters.