Over 800 people every day still neglecting seatbelt use, DGT reports

by Lorraine Williamson

The Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has recently released alarming statistics revealing that despite extensive campaigns and ongoing efforts to promote road safety, over 800 individuals daily continue to neglect the use of seatbelts while travelling.

The findings, derived from a week-long campaign, underscore a persistent issue that poses significant risks to road users across Spain.

Throughout the duration of the campaign, which targeted more than 400,000 vehicles, authorities detected a staggering 5,841 individuals travelling without any form of safety device. Shockingly, 76% of those found not wearing seatbelts or utilising proper child safety seats were on conventional roads, known for their heightened danger and propensity for accidents involving veering off the road.

No child safety seats

Of particular concern were the 317 minors, with a height equal to or less than 135 cm, found travelling without appropriate child safety seats or using them incorrectly. This disregard for safety measures is deeply troubling, given that seatbelts and child restraint systems remain among the most effective means of safeguarding occupants of motor vehicles.

The repercussions of such negligence are starkly evident in the data, with 40 out of 130 reported fatalities this year attributed to individuals not utilising any safety device at the time of the accidents, accounting for 33% of the cases. This highlights the critical role that seatbelt and child safety seat usage play in potentially saving lives during road incidents.

The campaign’s results serve as a stark reminder that despite the clear advantages offered by these safety devices, a segment of the population persists in neglecting their use. This behaviour is particularly troubling given the potentially life-saving impact of seatbelt and child restraint system usage in the event of a crash.

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Reduce the risk of fatalities

It is imperative to emphasise that seatbelts and child safety seats significantly reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in traffic accidents. Studies have shown that wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death in a crash by 50%, while in urban areas, the likelihood of severe injury or death decreases by five times when seatbelts are worn.

Regarding child safety seats, mandatory for children under 135 cm in height, the enforcement campaign uncovered 317 instances of non-compliance or improper use. These figures underscore the critical importance of ensuring children are properly secured while traveling, as the data indicates that a significant portion of severe or fatal child injuries could have been prevented with correct usage of these systems.

Non-compliance penalised

In response to such concerning trends, traffic laws have been strengthened to penalise non-compliance more severely. In 2022, the loss of four points was implemented for failure to use appropriate child restraint systems or for improper use, mirroring penalties for seatbelt non-compliance.

To confront this ongoing challenge and ensure the safety of all road users, concerted efforts are needed, including continued education, strict enforcement of traffic laws, and raising awareness about the life-saving benefits of seatbelts and child safety seats. Ultimately, it is incumbent upon every individual to prioritise safety and adhere to these essential precautions every time they embark on a journey, for their own well-being and that of others on the road.

Also read: 28 lives lost on Spanish roads over Easter

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