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Over a quarter killed on Irish roads last year were not wearing a seat belt

More than a quarter of people killed on Irish roads last year were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

According to analysis by the RSA of provisional Garda statistics from 2021, 27 per cent of drivers and passengers killed in road traffic collisions were not wearing a seat belt.

Analysis of provisional collision data from 2017 to 2020 shows that 10 per cent of vehicle occupants seriously injured were not wearing a seat belt.

Separately, new research of drivers’ attitudes and behaviour released by the RSA, found that while 96 per cent of motorists say they always use a seat belt as a driver, 17 per cent say they don’t always wear a seat belt while travelling in the back seat.

The Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána continue to urge drivers and passengers to always wear a seat belt on every journey.

“Seat belts are proven life savers and putting one on before starting a journey is second nature for most of us,” said RSA chief executive, Sam Waide.

“I am concerned that only 83 per cent of rear seat passengers tell us they always use a seat belt. Not being restrained in the back seat of a car means that in the event of a collision, you will be thrown around the vehicle at extremely high force, risking serious injury to both yourself and others in the car.

“Failing to put on your seat belt doesn’t just increase the likelihood of you being killed or seriously injured, it’s a potential killer behaviour.

“I would argue that not wearing a seat belt is not just dangerous but selfish too. I would ask drivers to always ensure that they and their passengers are wearing their seatbelt before starting a journey,” he added.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “Seatbelts save lives. Unfortunately emergency services personnel including Gardaí, continue to arrive at scenes of traffic collisions and witness first-hand the devastating injuries sustained by drivers and passengers because they were not wearing a seatbelt.

“Last year Gardaí issued 7,248 Fixed charge penalty notices for seat belt offences. This figure shows that a high number of people continue to take unnecessary risks on our roads, are not listening to advice or changing their behaviour.”

Assistant Commissioner Hilman added that every occupant in a vehicle is required by law to wear a seat belt and the responsibility lies with the driver to ensure that all people under the age of 17 wear a seatbelt or have a proper child restraint.

If a driver is detected not wearing a seatbelt, they risk three penalty points and a fine of €60.

Passengers over 17 may be fined €60 for not wearing a seatbelt.