There is no doubt that the seat belt saves lives. However, in spite of being aware of its importance, there are still a lot of drivers and passengers that travel without wearing seat belts. If they are not wearing the corresponding seat belt, it is even more unlikely that the appropriate and properly fitted child restraint system is being used. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is urging the fitting of the 'smart seat belt reminder' in all automobiles and seats. Do not miss this video.
‘Unfortunately, the failure to wear seat belts in the European Union is a major problem’. So says Ellen Townsend, Policy Director at the European Transport Safety Council, who further points out that 10 percent of people do not wear a front seat belt while 15 percent fail to wear them in the rear seats.
Dr. Áine Carrol, from the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin, confirms that there is no doubt that the failure to wear a seat belt can have serious consequences and worsen injuries. In fact, 19 percent of fatal victims of road traffic accidents in 2014 were not wearing a seat belt.
However, seat belt use varies from one country to another. Aled Williams, Program Manager at Euro NCAP, says that the percentage of drivers that wear seat belts in the United Kingdom and Sweden is very high. Nonetheless, there are still countries that have a long way to go to achieve generalized use. ‘Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important things people can do to improve their possibilities of not suffering serious injuries in a road traffic accident’, claims Williams.
Whereas it is relatively easy to control whether or not drivers are speeding, owing to the different technical media at the disposal of highway patrols, controlling seat belt use can only be done by the naked eye. So says Koen Ricour from the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL).
NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT IS THE SAME AS BEING FIRED AS A MISSILE
Dr. Áine Carrol from Dublin warns that there is nothing to protect us when we do not wear the seat belt. The fact is that we are not only causing injuries to ourselves, because we may be projected through the windshield of our automobile and onto that of an oncoming vehicle and thus cause injury to others by impacting against the windshield of that vehicle.
SMART SEAT BELT REMINDER ON ALL SEATS
The ETSC is advocating European legislation to require all vehicles to be equipped with smart seat belt reminders (SBRs).
Indeed, this system is already available for drivers and, in some cases, for passengers too. However, it should be extended to all vehicle occupants.
The cost involved in implementing such a measure is paltry in comparison to the important savings to be made in lives. Aled Williams from Euro NCAP states that hardware would have to be adjusted a little and pedestrian detectors fitted. Costs would gradually drop with its increasing mass implementation.
The ETSC expects that this system will extend seat belt users to 99 percent. Furthermore, it is estimated that if this system were fitted in all seats it could save 900 lives in Europe a year.
SAFETY BELT AND CHILD SAFETY SEAT
As important as it is to wear seat belts when traveling by automobile, young children should also wear the corresponding child restraint system. There is no doubt that this system will remind more than one absent-minded adult to fit the child safety seat.
The fact is that the ‘safety belt and the child safety seat are life insurance policies’. Accordingly, we provide a few practical tips for the safest seat.