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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 01:39 GMT
Millions 'not wearing seatbelts'
A seatbelt [Pic: Brake]
Brake say that putting on a seatbelt should be automatic
Millions of people are not wearing seatbelts years after wearing one became compulsory, research suggests.

A Liverpool Victoria survey found 2.3m drivers do not always wear seatbelts and government figures suggest only seven in 10 adults wear rear seatbelts.

The wearing of seat belts was made compulsory for car drivers and front seat passengers 25 years ago, and in the back 17 years ago.

Road safety charity Brake said belting up should be an "automatic" action.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said that 60,000 lives had been saved over the past 25 years thanks to the introduction of seatbelt wearing laws on 31 January 1983.

It is estimated that an 670,000 serious injuries have been prevented since seatbelts were made mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers.

It is a simple, quick action which should be as automatic as looking in your mirror or putting the key in the ignition

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "Government campaigns have helped increase the numbers of people wearing seatbelts to more than 90% for drivers and front seat passengers but too many back seat passengers are still not belting up.

"With up to 15 drivers and front seat passengers killed each year by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger it is vital that everyone - young or old, travelling in the front or back - wears a seatbelt."

In the UK there are 37,000 fatal or serious injuries every year on the roads. Rear seatbelt requirements were introduced in 1991.

Safety concerns

A spokesman for Brake said: "It is of huge concern that 2m drivers are still not belting up every time they drive.

"It is a simple, quick action which should be as automatic as looking in your mirror or putting the key in the ignition.

"The government must do more to publicise the dangers of driving without a seatbelt on to prevent unnecessary deaths and injuries."

Martin Milliner, Head of Claims at Liverpool Victoria said: "It has been 17 years since rear seatbelts became compulsory and our research suggests that the message is still not getting through and confusion remains regarding the law and the consequences.

"More than 2.7m adults never wear a seat belt when travelling as a passenger in the car and over 3.5 million don't believe there is a fine for being caught without one."

Those convicted in court of a seatbelt wearing offence face a maximum fine of 500. If a Fixed Penalty Notice is offered and accepted, then the fine is 30.

The total sample size of the Liverpool Victoria survey was 2,047 adults, who took part in an online survey between 31 December 2007 and 2 January 2008.

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