Nearly half (49%) of young drivers have been in a car with someone not wearing a seat belt in the past year, a new survey suggests.
The poll, commissioned by road safety charity Brake, indicates that drivers aged 18-24 are almost three times more likely to be in a car with someone who is not belted up compared with drivers of all ages.
The research was published to mark the 36th anniversary of seat belt wearing becoming mandatory in the UK.
Prince Philip was spoken to by police earlier this month after being photographed driving without a seat belt.
This happened just days after he collided with another vehicle when pulling out of a driveway on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
More than a quarter (27%) of the 787 car occupants who died in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 were not wearing a seat belt, according to latest Department for Transport data.
This was compared with 20% during the previous year.
The fixed penalty for failing to wear a seat belt is £100. Offenders face a fine of up to £500 if a case goes to court.
Eight out of 10 drivers surveyed for Brake support European legislation being passed, which is due to make seat belt reminder systems mandatory for new cars from September.
The charity’s director of campaigns Josh Harris said: “Seat belt wearing became compulsory almost 40 years ago and so it comes as a real shock to hear half of young drivers admit they’ve been in a car with someone not belted up in the past year.
“We know seat belts save lives and yet there are still four people a week who needlessly die on our roads when not belted up.
“Soon we will see seat belt reminders made mandatory on all seats in new cars – a great step forward.
“Unfortunately, we’ve found that young people are most exposed to this issue and they are far less likely to be purchasing new vehicles.
“We need the Government to target safety campaigns at the younger generations to make sure they hear loud and clear that seat belts save lives.
“Ultimately every death on the road is preventable but a death of someone not wearing a seat belt could so easily be avoided.”
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