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Fewer children using seatbelts in back seat

By Linda Stewart

Seatbelt use by youngsters travelling in the back seat has dropped in Northern Ireland over the last couple of years.

Overall seatbelt use has increased from 96% in 2009 to 97% in 2010 — the highest rate recorded since the current series of Northern Ireland seatbelt surveys began in 1994.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said he was concerned about a significant decrease in the number of children aged between five and nine who wear a seatbelt in the back of the car.

“I am encouraged to read the latest findings on seatbelt wearing rates, which show an overall increase in the number of people using a seatbelt,” said the Environment Minister.

The minister said recent seatbelt advertising campaigns and the introduction of tougher new penalties for not wearing seatbelts have played vital roles in bringing about the positive changes revealed in the latest survey.

“I am particularly pleased to report that Northern Ireland seatbelt wearing rates compare favourably with the latest figures available in Britain (2009) and Northern Ireland’s rates continue to exceed the levels recorded in GB,” he said.

“However, it is of great concern that there has been a significant decrease in the seatbelt wearing rate in the five to nine-year-old age group with around 9% of children this age travelling unrestrained in the car.

“I would urge parents to take responsibility for ensuring their children are safely secured while travelling — no matter how short the journey.”

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