Research has revealed 9% of children travelling in the back of a car are not strapped into a child seat, sparking a road safety warning.
The study commissioned by Surrey County Council* also showed white van man is risking life and limb, with 16% of van drivers not buckling up and 31% of their passengers failing to do so.
In the 30th year since the law requiring drivers to wear seatbelts was introduced in 1983, some people still aren’t getting the message.
The good news is that 96% of car drivers and their front seat passengers were found to be strapped in, but only 86% of those sitting in the back seat of a car wore a seatbelt.
The research also revealed a small increase in people flouting the law by using a mobile phone at the wheel, from 1.2% in 2009 to 2.6% in 2012.
Surrey County Council and Surrey Police are running a road safety campaign called Drive SMART which aims to reduce selfish, anti-social and dangerous behaviour.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Failing to strap a child into a car seat is selfish, dangerous and makes them incredibly vulnerable. It’s distressing to discover that so many youngsters aren’t being strapped in. The safety message to everyone is simple – buckle up. It takes seconds to put a seatbelt on but it’s an action that saves lives.”
Roads Policing Inspector Richard Mallett, said: “Drivers who let children travel in their vehicle without being strapped in appropriately can face a £60 fine or prosecution, but that is nothing compared with the anguish of a child being hurt or even killed because they chose to flout the law.
“It is a traffic officers’ worst nightmare attending a collision where a child has been seriously injured or killed. Could you live with yourself if you were the person responsible?”
The research, carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory, observed the habits of 4,818 people in 3,713 vehicles, at six locations in Surrey (Sunbury, Milford, Farnham, Pirbright, Camberley and Blackwater).
Advice on fitting car seats for children and seatbelt use in general can be found at http://www.drivesmartsurrey.org.uk.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley on 0208 541 7259.
Notes to editors
*All figures for 2012 unless stated otherwise.