country-folk-slow-to-get-seatbelt-messageDon’t add to the damning statistics that double the number of fatalities in the country involve people not wearing a seatbelt. M123814

ONE in seven people killed on country Victorian roads last year were not wearing a seatbelt, prompting a plea from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) for motorists to buckle up.
Forty-four years after Victoria became the world’s first jurisdiction to make the wearing of seatbelts mandatory, TAC figures have revealed 25 of the 242 people who died on the state’s roads last year were not wearing them.
Most of the fatalities involving unrestrained vehicle occupants happened in regional Victoria, where 18 of the 141 people killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
In metropolitan Melbourne, seven of the 101 fatalities were not buckled up, meaning regional Victorians who died were twice as likely as their metropolitan counterparts to be unrestrained.
TAC chief executive officer Janet Dore said, despite the figures, the vast majority of Victorians wore a seatbelt every time they got into a car.
“After four decades of strong campaigning for seatbelts, our own research into driver behaviour indicates 97 per cent of licence holders buckle up all the time. We need that to be 100 per cent,” Ms Dore said.
“What we’re also finding through crash analysis is that in those cases where people are killed or seriously injured without a seatbelt on, another contributing factor such as alcohol is often present.”
Ms Dore said wearing a seatbelt could reduce the risk of dying in a crash by 40 to 50 per cent for drivers and front-seat passengers and 25 per cent for rear-seat passengers.
“Despite the proven benefits of wearing a seatbelt, a small minority of people still seem to think they are invincible but, as we know, accidents do happen and if you’re not wearing one, the chance that you will die or suffer a serious injury is greatly increased,” she said.
The TAC is trialling new seatbelt interlock technology in SafeCar that takes existing seatbelt reminder systems one step further and prevents the driver from starting the car unless occupants are buckled up.
The TAC SafeCar project is a demonstration project of new and emerging technologies that have promising road safety potential.
Encouraging the uptake of new vehicle safety technologies is a key goal of the State Government’s Road Safety Strategy.