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Traffic - Seat belts

On this month’s Crimecall Garda Adrian Corcoran was in studio to discuss road safety advice in relation to seat belt and child restraint safety - one of the key proven lifesavers.

Adrian also highlighted an initiative by two Gardaí based at Bantry District, Cork West Garda Division. Garda Johnathan Mc Carthy (Schull) and Garda Brigid Hartnett (Bantry), who in conjunction with Cork county council developed a virtual reality programmewhich simulates what it is like to be a passenger in a fatal collision.

The Virtual Reality, (V.R), programme is targeted at younger drivers, aged 16 to 25 who are among the most vulnerable road users. We know that passenger fatalities are highest in this age group. The V.R headsets put the young person in the passenger seat so they can experience the reality of a serious collision. The most important factor for us is that 88% of participants said they would change their attitude and behaviour after taking part in this programme. They began thinking about speeding, the use of mobile phones, wearing a seatbelt and driver distraction.”

The pilot programme involved 1,200 students from County Cork and was developed by West Cork Community Gardaí based at Bantry District in partnership with Cork County Council Road Safety Officer. Assistance was also received from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue where the headsets originated. The programme has since been rolled out across the entire country, reaching over 10,000 students to date.

Further information is available from the Road Safety officer based at each Local County Council.

Seat Belts and Child Restraints: 

  • 27% of fatalities were not wearing seat belt in 2021
  • 10% of those seriously injured between 2017 and 2020 not wearing a seat belt
  • 17% of motorists say they don’t always wear a seat belt in the back seat

Seat belts are the most basis form of road safety and are proven lifesavers. Seat belts dramatically reduce the risk of death and serious injury in the event of a collision. Yet our provisional statistics from 2021 shows that 27% of drivers and passengers killed in road traffic collisions, were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision.

Results from a recent survey found that while 96% of drivers say they always wear a seat belt, this figure drops to 83% when people are travelling in the back seat of a car. Forgetting to put on a seat belt is the main reason for not wearing it.

If you are over 17 you are legally responsible for wearing your seat belt in a vehicle whether you are a driver or a passenger. Responsibility lies with the driver to ensure that all passengers under the age of 17 wear a seat belt or have a proper child restraint.

Last year Gardaí issued 7,248 fixed charge penalty notices for seat belt offences.This figure shows that some people continue to take unnecessary risks on our roads by failing to belt up. 

Our advice is to everyone, whether driving or a passenger, please ensure that you are wearing your seat belt before you set off.