We all know that we should wear a seat belt when driving and that children should travel in a child restraint system. Nevertheless, despite knowing full well that it is advantageous and compulsory, there are people who still refuse to use them. The consequences are disastrous. To prove the point, in 2015 there were 178 people who sadly lost their lives in saloon cars and vans through not wearing a seat belt, according to figures published by the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT). Using a seat belt reduces the risk of death in an accident by half while using appropriate child restraint systems reduces deaths by 75% and injuries by 90%.
As a result of all this, the DGT is launching a new campaign whose objective is to influence those drivers or passengers who are still not making use of these safety devices.
Over the course of a week, agents from the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard along with regional and local police forces will be checking that all vehicle passengers are traveling using the appropriate seat belts and requisite child seats.
In 2015, the last year for which there are completed data for both urban and interurban roads, 22% (159) of those who died in car and van accidents were not wearing seat belts on interurban highways. Of the 70 who died on urban roads, 19 were not wearing them. Of the hospitalized injured, 10% were not wearing seat belts in the case of interurban highways and 14% in accidents on urban roads.
Adults must take responsibility for the transpot of children
The DGT stresses that child safety in the car is the responsibility of the adult. Remember, therefore, that for minors up to and including a height of 135 cm traveling in a vehicle, in addition to riding in a child restraint system appropriate to their size and weight in line with regulations, it is compulsory to sit in the back seats of the vehicle, except: if the vehicle has no back seats, if all the back seats are occupied by children in child seats or when it is impossible to fit these seats with a CRS.
Only in these cases can children occupy the front seat of the vehicle but always using the officially approved restraint system suitable for their size and weight.
On this subject, the DGT highlights the importance of using an officially approved child seat and reminds us that if you are going to acquire a new child restraint system you need to be aware that the new European regulation is UNECE R-129, and that this measure currently coexists with regulation R-44/04. The latter is due to disappear over the next few years.
‘Creating regulation R-129 arose from the need to update R- 44/04 to adapt it to new technological advances’, according to the Traffic Authority. You can find out here what the main differences are between one regulation and the other. Bear in mind that R-129 does not divide child seats into groups and dictates that CRS should be chosen according to the height of the child whereas R-44/04 regulates based on the weight of the child among other parameters.
For the CRS to be able to offer the correct level of safety, it needs to be appropriate according to the child's weight (R-44/04) or height (R-129). Additionally, you must follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure it is correctly installed and that the child is strapped in properly. In these infographs you will find advice for carrying out these tasks correctly. The child seat will not be effective if it is not well secured or if the child is not properly strapped into the CRS.