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Gloucestershire road safety seatbelt reminder, 30 years on

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Comments (12)

As the seatbelt law marks its 30th anniversary today, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership is reminding people who don't obey it that they risk prosecution - and their lives.

In 1983, regulations for the wearing of front belts came into force for an initial three-year trial. Since then, evidence indicates that around 300 lives could have been saved each year if all car occupants had belted up.

Echoing the national picture, drivers and passengers between the ages of 17 and 34 are the most likely not to wear a seatbelt and the most likely to be involved in an accident.

Head of the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, Dave Hornibrook, said: "Although many people wear their seatbelts, there are still some who either choose not to or simply forget. Nationally and across Gloucestershire, there are still collisions occurring where people haven't worn their seatbelt, and the injuries sustained could have been avoided if seatbelts were used.

"The clear message from us is to always wear a seatbelt on every journey you make, simply because in a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't. Not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal or life-changing decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds."

Today, drivers and passengers who don't wear seatbelts are breaking the law and face an on-the-spot fine of £60. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

Chief Inspector Jason Keates of Gloucestershire Police said: "I'm hopeful the message about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt is beginning to get through now. When our traffic officers are out and about it is certainly one of their key priorities to stop anyone who is not wearing a seatbelt or travelling with passengers who aren't wearing seatbelts.

"Over the years I have attended the scenes of many collisions where someone's life could have been saved if they had worn a seatbelt. I can reassure everyone we are very passionate about making sure people don't take these risks as we see the misery that can be caused by the death of a loved one in a collision." 

Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet member for communities, said: "It takes nothing to put on a seatbelt, and yet there are still some people who risk their lives by failing to.

"This 30-year-old law is as relevant today as it was when it was first made so, though it has saved many lives in this county alone, one death due to not wearing a belt is one too many."

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12 comments

  • bonzaharris1  |  January 31 2013, 10:33PM

    Good idea Tree1974, The NHS would save a fortune by not having to treat people, who become sick with self inflicted conditions and injuries. That should keep valuable nurses in employment to care for the genuinely sick.

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  • DaveSparrow  |  January 31 2013, 8:37PM

    Well put Mr Tree

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  • Tree1974  |  January 31 2013, 8:33PM

    Perhaps not wearing a seat belt should not be illegal but, in my opinion, anyone making this choice should automatically become exempt from NHS care if their actions cause them injury. (The same should apply to smokers, drinkers, over eaters, etc). People need to understand that with choice comes consequence and that consequence should not be paid for by the general public. (Please could you also ensure that if you are ever unfortunate enough to have a head on accident, you don't go through your windscreen and in through the windscreen of the car you have hit. This does happen and also severely harms, if not kills the law abiding occupant in the other car)

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  • raidermanuk  |  January 31 2013, 7:38PM

    L804XDG I wonder how many people you have bored with that story! Interesting, whilst commenting on an earlier article on cyclists you said: "oppinion" take a look at the highway code" and then went on to quote 7 Highway Code rules, 5 of which are law! http://tinyurl.com/9wg6ktr

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  • L804XDG  |  January 31 2013, 6:43PM

    I also don't wear a seat belt ever! My truck has not got them fitted and isn't legally required to! In the car I never do either... I have been fined once for it, I chose to go to court and won. The magistrates knew I wasn't wearing one as did the copper who stopped me, he was single crewed and had no working camera in the front of the car. I knew this when he stopped me. In court I didn't deny not using a belt but instead I asked for what evidence the police had, knowing they didn't have any! The magistrates simply said "be under no illusion we all know you were not using one but as the police have not given details of any other witnesses other than the police officer who pulled you over, and did not submit any evidence to prove either way the case is dismissed" I also submitted a days worth of lost earnings which were paid to me.

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  • DaveSparrow  |  January 31 2013, 6:41PM

    Yes yes very good, Beekeeper

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  • Beekeeper  |  January 31 2013, 5:27PM

    Clunk click every trip, Dave!

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  • DaveSparrow  |  January 31 2013, 4:03PM

    I'm not sure I fully understand what you're trying to say Matt. Yes I have been pulled over and fined for a short trip without wearing a seatbelt (10 or so years ago). Nothing I could have said helped prevent the fine because despite there being nothing immoral about my actions, I was on the wrong side of the law. Having a poor diet is dangerous for your health. Should it be illegal to eat unhealthily, with risk of being fined an arbitrary amount to force you to live a certain way?

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  • DaveSparrow  |  January 31 2013, 3:38PM

    Great point Mr/Ms Beekeeper and it would be fine... if that was my choice to make. Sadly my freedom has already been taken away and I risk being fined if I don't comply. I have no say, democracy is an illusion.

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  • Matt1006  |  January 31 2013, 3:30PM

    Dave - so if you're only endangering yourself, it's OK to break the law, which is what you're doing if you don't wear a seatbelt, without having express permission to do so? Interesting point of view. Have you ever been presented with the opportunity to contest your point of view, either to a traffic cop on the side of the road, or to a magistrate in a court room...? It's the law - it's not a requirement to like or agree with it, but it is a requirement to adhere to it. Belt up, or face being pulled over and fined. Or possibly face being scrapped up off the road surface after you've been ejected through your own windscreen. At least this is one motoring offence where the guilty party is generally the only one affected, although it is also the driver's responsibility to make sure all passengers in the car are belted up, even if the driver isn't.

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