50 years of seatbelt safety


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Seatbelts have been a compulsory feature of new cars for 50 years and thanks to work by the government's THINK! campaign the number of people wearing seatbelts is consistently above 90%


January marks 50 years since it became compulsory for all new vehicles to have seatbelts installed.

In 1966, legislation was introduced which made seatbelt fittings a compulsory component of all new cars, a move which revolutionised the way drivers and passengers approached car safety.

You’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt which is why the government’s THINK! campaign has worked so hard to remind people just how important buckling up is.

For the past 10 years the number of people wearing seatbelts has consistently been above 90%, with a high of 98% of car drivers recorded wearing a seatbelt in 2014.

Road Safety Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “The introduction of compulsory seatbelts has, without a doubt, saved many thousands of lives and has had a huge impact on road safety.

“Many families have been spared the heartbreak of a death or serious injury of a loved one as a result of a simple action at the start of each trip.

“While the vast majority of people do wear seatbelts in both the front and back seats, there are still some who don’t and I urge all drivers and passengers to make sure they are safely belted in, even on the shortest of journeys.”

Drivers and passengers who choose not to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law and drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for roads policing Suzette Davenport said: “Seatbelts are not only a legal requirement, they are the first and best line of preventative defence against death and serious injury in road traffic collisions.

“During our recent week-long road safety campaign, 2,961 offences were recorded, which shows that some people are still not getting the message.

“We in the police will do our utmost to keep our roads safe for all of us, but I urge the public in the strongest terms to do what they can to help us, first and foremost by remembering to wear their seatbelts.”

The style of THINK! seatbelt advertisements has changed over the years, but the message remains the same, wear a seatbelt. Find out more about the THINK! campaign here.

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