The use of seatbelts in vehicles is perhaps considered the most important development in road collision survivability.
This month marks four decades of compulsory seatbelt wearing in the front of cars, with the legislation extending to all occupants eight years later.
Reflecting on the significance of seatbelt use, Chief Inspector Caroline Mullen-Hurst of North Wales Police said: “Wearing a seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death – sadly it is an issue that it is still apparent on the roads of North Wales and it’s disappointing to see that people are still choosing to risk their lives and the lives of others.
“Seatbelts are one of the simplest and most important features for protecting motorists and their passengers. It is essential that everyone wears a seatbelt, not just the driver. In a collision, an unrestrained back seat passenger can be thrown forward with enough force to kill the person in front.
“Collisions can happen at any time, so it is vital that everyone wears a seatbelt on every journey, no matter how short. Just three seconds to belt up could save your life so please make sure you wear yours.”
In the UK, if a seatbelt is fitted it is a legal requirement to wear it. Failure to do so can result in an on-the-spot fine of £100. This can increase up to £500 if found guilty in court.
North Wales Police have a robust strategy around enforcing the ‘Fatal 5’ offences which are failing to wear a seat belt, drink and drug driving, dangerous and careless driving including unnecessary risk taking, speeding and using a mobile phone while driving.
The law requiring all drivers to wear their seatbelts came into force on 31 January 1983
Between January and November 2022 North Wales Police issued 611 tickets to motorists not wearing a seatbelt.
In 2021 349 tickets were issued compared to 426 in 2020.
There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.