DGT: Many still refuse to belt up

DGT: seat belt drive

Fasten your seat belts. Credit: Lopolo/Shutterstock.com

In 2023, more than 130 road users in Spain lost their lives because they didn’t use a simple safety feature.

Is it surprising that in this day and age, some still neglect the basic safety requirement of wearing a seat belt?

Until Sunday, March 17, Spain’s Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) will run a significant initiative aimed at enhancing seat belt usage across all road types, using a variety of monitoring tools.

This move seeks to ensure that every vehicle occupant, front or back, adult or child, adheres to this crucial safety practice.

Enhanced enforcement campaign

Last year, the stark reality was that 139 individuals lost their lives in Spain due to not wearing seat belts at the time of their accidents, provoking an urgent wake-up call.

This accounted for 25 per cent of all road fatalities. The DGT’s recent campaign, leveraging the Guardia Civil, regional, and local police forces, highlights an intensified patrol across different types of roads.

Aerial surveillance via helicopters and drones, complemented by 245 cameras on various roads, underscores the comprehensive nature of the campaign.

Mandatory measures for children

The regulations are particularly stringent for younger passengers. Children measuring 135 cm (approximately 4’5″) or less are required to use child restraint systems, though it’s advised to continue their use until they reach 150 cm (approximately 4’11”). Such measures underscore the commitment to safeguarding our youngest road users.

Gender disparity

Research conducted by the National Road Safety Observatory has revealed a notable gender disparity in seat belt usage. Men are less likely to wear seat belts compared to women.

Additionally, it was found that age and seating position influence usage rates, with older individuals and those seated in the front more inclined to buckle up.

The lifesaving potential of seat belts

Seat belts dramatically reduce the risk of fatality in accidents, particularly rollovers, where the likelihood of death decreases by 77 per cent.

Unlike the misconception that belts restrict movement, they actually modulate deceleration, similar to a parachute. This feature, coupled with the vehicle’s design to absorb kinetic energy, significantly mitigates injury risk in high-speed impacts.

A gesture of generosity

Many people are unaware of it, but the seatbelt was created by Volvo. Their decision to freely share its seat belt patent with other manufacturers stands as a testament to the device’s importance in road safety. It’s a gesture that not only highlights the Swedish brand’s integrity but also the universal value of life preservation.

As such, the habit of fastening one’s seat belt should be automatic for everyone stepping into a vehicle, reflecting its negligible effort versus its immense benefit in saving lives.

Remember, wearing a seat belt is a simple act with life-saving consequences. It’s a practice that deserves unwavering commitment for the well-being of all road users.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.