Belfast Telegraph

Some parents still not belting up their kids in cars

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan made a rallying call to parents to ensure their children are wearing seatbelts.

The Minister was responding to the Annual Seatbelt Survey which showed 5% of children between five and nine are not buckled in.

The figures also reveal the overall level of seatbelt use remains high at 98% and the number of people wearing seatbelts in the back has remained static at around 95%.

Mark H Durkan said: “I commend the vast majority of people who use their seat belts. Many people are alive today who would quite simply not be, if seat belt wearing was the rate it was a few years ago.

“When you think though of how many drivers and passengers travel every day, even very small percentages not using belts could be significant. My Department estimates that overall two lives, 22 serious injuries and 120 slight injuries could be saved each year were a 100% wearing rate observed. Last year seven people died and 36 were seriously injured who were not wearing a seatbelt.

“I am particularly concerned that all children are not buckled up safely in vehicles. And it is not just about wearing a seatbelt. For a child aged between one and seven using an appropriate child restraint reduces the risk of injury by a further 70% over using a seat belt alone. I make a heartfelt plea to all parents to ensure their children are safe, although in many cases I know that it is children who remind the grown-ups to belt up!"

Minister Durkan then referred to momentary lapses. He said: “Most people now regard themselves as seatbelt wearers but do say that sometimes they forget or remove the seatbelt briefly. If a person is sitting in the front of a car, wearing a belt will make them almost 50% less likely to die in a collision.

"I want everyone to get the message that there is no excuse for not wearing your seatbelt or not to take responsibility for ensuring your children are safe.

“Remember, NO SEATBELT NO EXCUSE.”

Note to editors:

1. Figures for 2012 fatalities and serious injuries who were not wearing a seatbelt are based on vehicle types where a seatbelt is normally worn (cars and vans). There were 11 fatalities and 148 serious injuries where it was not known if the person was wearing a seatbelt.

2. In 2013, 4% of children aged 10-13, five per cent of those aged 5-9, 3% of those aged 1-4 and 1% of those under one year were unrestrained when travelling in the back of a car. Restraint wearing rates for these groups have been fairly constant over the last three years.
 

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