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Crackdown on failure to wear a seat belt

Crackdown on failure to wear a seat belt

HOME OFFICE News Release (158/2008) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 15 September 2008

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker today reminded motorists to wear a seat belt otherwise they could face an increased fixed penalty. It is hoped the increase will deter those who still risk injury or death to themselves and others by not wearing one.

The consultation, published today, seeks views on increasing the fixed penalty from £30 to £60 for failure to comply with seat belt legislation. Whilst educational campaigns and publicity have made considerable differences in behaviour, some drivers and passengers are still ignoring the risks. In a crash from 30 to 0 mph, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60 per cent.

Views are also being sought on increasing the fixed penalty for the misrepresentation of vehicle registration marks from £30 to £60. The use of illegal number plates can have a significant impact on criminal investigations and crime detection - in particular the effective use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras in helping the police fight crime.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said:

"The vast majority of motorists wear seat belts but some drivers and passengers still choose not to, even though wearing a seat belt is a key factor in avoiding death or injury in a car crash. "By increasing the fixed penalty we hope to deter more motorists from not wearing a seat belt and underline to them and other road users the risks."

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"Wearing a seat belt could save your life; it's as simple as that. Research is clear that around 350 lives in 2006 could have been saved by belting up.

"We are determined all drivers and passengers realise the importance of wearing a seat belt, both in the front and back of a vehicle. Today's proposal sends a clear message about this and will encourage more people to belt up for all trips.

"Alongside this, the Department for Transport will soon be launching a new, hard-hitting public information campaign reminding everyone of the value of always using a seat belt."

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The consultation document can be found at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/consultations.

2. The promotion of seatbelt wearing by the THINK! campaign is one of DfT's current priorities. The most recent observational survey (by TRL Ltd in August 2007) shows seatbelt wearing rates of 94/93% for drivers/front passengers but only 70% for adult passengers aged 14+ in back seats.

3. The Department for Transport has been promoting the use of seat belts since 1973, long before it became compulsory by law to use one. THINK! are continuing to work on reinforcing the message to new generations of drivers and passengers through a mixture of powerful TV and radio advertising.

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