The number of people that have been stopped for not wearing a seatbelt has increased by 30% since 2010. It is unclear whether this is as a result of more people refusing to wear seatbelts while in the car, or whether it is because of an increased number of stops, but the figures have been by insurance company LV= who also questioned drivers regarding their seatbelt wearing habits and found that 47% were unaware that they could be fined for not wearing the safety device.
The seatbelt endured a stuttering introduction in UK law. Changes in government and a protracted consultation period meant that it took approximately ten years for a bill to be passed through parliament that meant wearing a seatbelt in the front of cars became a legal requirement. This occurred in 1983, while in 1989 all children in the back seats were required to buckle up, and in 1991, back seat seatbelts were a legal necessity for all passengers, regardless of their age.
Seatbelts are a safety addition to the modern car. They prevent drivers and passengers from being thrown around their vehicle in the event of an accident, and they can also help prevent accidents from becoming worse by ensuring that the driver is able to remain in a suitable driving position after a bump. Rear seatbelts can also prevent passengers in the back seat from causing serious injuries to those in the front.
Despite these obvious safety features, however, figures suggest that an increasingly large number of people are willing to take the risk and travel without wearing a seatbelt. 30% more people were stopped for not wearing a seatbelt in 2013 than were stopped for the same offence in 2010, although some of this increase may be attributable to a crackdown on not wearing seatbelts.
LV= also questioned some of its drivers, with 47% saying that they were unaware they could be fined for not wearing a seatbelt. 24% said they do not bother with one when in the back seat, and 42% said that they don’t wear on while travelling in a taxi.