DGT launches special campaign to enhance seat belt and child restraint awareness

by Lorraine Williamson
seat belt

In a bid to improve road safety and reduce fatalities, the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) has announced a special campaign focusing on the proper use of seat belts and child restraint systems. The campaign, which commenced yesterday, will run until March 17, covering both urban and interurban roads.

Despite the proven effectiveness of seat belts and child restraint systems, 139 individuals lost their lives in 2023. The accidents involved cars and vans where the occupants were not wearing seat belts at the time of the incident. Last month alone, 14 of the victims were not utilising the appropriate safety systems at the time of the accidents. All of whom were travelling in cars without wearing seat belts.

First-hand experience

To demonstrate the effectiveness of seat belts, the DGT presented the campaign at the Fundación RACE Training Centre. Attendees had the opportunity to try rollover simulators firsthand, guided by Ignacio Fernández, Director of the Fundación RACE and Institutional Relations at RACE, along with David Fernández, Head of Studies and Research at the Fundación RACE.

seat belt safety awareness


Vigilance across all roads

The DGT’s campaign involves a comprehensive surveillance effort across all types of roads, utilising all available resources at its disposal. Traffic officers from the Guardia Civil Traffic Group, as well as regional and local police forces participating in the campaign, will increase monitoring of seat belt and child restraint usage on all road types.

Aerial surveillance will also be intensified, along with automated control through the 245 cameras installed on conventional and high-occupancy roads. The initiative aligns with RoadPol’s (European Road Policing Network) broader campaign within the European Union. This campaign emphasises the fundamental importance of these restraint systems.

Proven effectiveness

Seat belts and child restraint systems rank among the most effective measures to protect occupants in motor vehicles during accidents. Despite the scientific evidence supporting their efficacy, a significant number of drivers and passengers still fail to use them.  Or, at least, use them incorrectly. Particularly concerning child restraint systems, which are more complex than seat belts, there is a high prevalence of misuse or the use of inappropriate systems for a child’s size.

Cogesa Expats

In 2023, 25% of the total interurban road fatalities involved individuals travelling in cars and vans without wearing seat belts. The Traffic and Road Safety Law imposes a 4-point penalty for not wearing a seat belt. Moreover, the same penalty is applied for not using an appropriate child restraint system or using it incorrectly.

Also read: Traffic fatalities in February

Child safety measures and recommendations

Children must be seated in the rear seats unless the vehicle lacks them, they are already occupied by other minors, or it is impossible to install all necessary child restraint systems. It is recommended that children travel in a rear-facing position, if possible, up to the age of 4 and, mandatory until 15 months.

The DGT, in collaboration with the Spanish Alliance for Child Road Safety, has compiled a ten-point guide emphasising the importance of child safety on the roads. The safety of a child largely depends on the driver’s behaviour, urging compliance with traffic rules, calm and relaxed driving, maintaining a safe distance, and adjusting speed to traffic conditions.

Adequate child restraint systems

For children, the use of appropriate child restraint systems is even more critical, as statistics show that nine out of ten serious or fatal child injuries could have been avoided with the mandatory use of proper restraint systems. In case of an accident, injuries can be reduced by up to 75% with the correct use of these systems.

In Spain, it is mandatory for minors with a height equal to or less than 135 cm to correctly use a child restraint system suitable for their height and weight, with a recommendation to use it until 150 cm.


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