Seatbelt appeal: Thousands at risk from not belting up

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Thousands of drivers up and down the UK are still putting themselves and others at risk from not belting up, according to a comparison website.

Alarming information provided by scrapcarcomparison.co.uk reveals some scrapped cars have crushed front seats – impacted by passengers sitting in the back without a seatbelt on.

In a 30mph crash, a back seated passenger, if unrestrained, will hit the front seats, and anyone in it, with a force of between 30 and 60 times their own body weight – around 3.5 tons, similar to that small elephant.

Around 40 front seat passengers die each year as a result of being hit by a backseat passenger not wearing their seatbelt, and with many more seriously injured.

Compensation for injury following an accident could be reduced if the injured person was not wearing a seatbelt and you could also end up in court.

The penalty for not wearing a rear seat belt is a fixed fine of £100, or a maximum fine of £500 if you end up in front of a magistrate.

Seatbelt wearing saves thousands of lives every year - and it takes no more than three seconds to put a seatbelt on and buckle up whether you are in the front or the back.

Young drivers and passengers are often under the impression that they don’t need to wear a seatbelt, especially if other people in the car are not wearing theirs.

A spokesperson for scrapcarcomparison.co.uk, a price comparison website for scrap vehicles, said: “It’s shocking to see the damage to a front seat which has been impacted by a backseat passenger not wearing a seatbelt.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about that these could be children in the back unrestrained.

“Statistics show that seat belts save lives. When used correctly, wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45%, and risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 per cent.”

The law states that drivers and front seat passengers in cars must wear a seatbelt, unless they have a medical exemption certificate.

Adults travelling in the rear of a car must also use seatbelts and anyone over the age of 14 is legally responsible for their own seat belt, or they will be responsible for their own fine.

And it is the responsibility of the driver to make sure children under 14 years of age are wearing their seat belts or in an appropriate child seat.

So if you’re thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ or it makes you look geeky or embarrassing to look safe – think again!