By Steph McNicol
WEARING a seatbelt in the car can halve the chance of serious or fatal injury during an accident according to the Transport Accident Commission.
Wearing seatbelts became law in Victoria in 1970, marking 50 years this year.
However road safety experts report 60 deaths since 2018 of drivers and passengers being unrestrained in a car.
So far in 2020, 11 people have died while not wearing a seatbelt – all of the deaths were men, and occurred on regional roads.
Seymour Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Murray Moser said regional drivers were at a higher risk because of the high-speed roads.
“I can’t reiterate enough the importance of wearing seatbelts,” Acting Sgt Moser said.
“If 11 people have died already this year by not wearing seatbelts, and we have 104 deaths on the road, that’s about 10 per cent of people not getting the message.
“That’s 11 people who could’ve been at home with their families.
“Unfortunately it takes people being involved in a collision before they say ‘thank god I was wearing one’, or ‘I wish I had worn one.
“The difference with regional roads is you’re dealing with higher speeds and the chances of a collision increase.”
This year the TAC re-aired one of its first commercials from 1990, in the hope it will help drivers understand the consequences of being unrestrained in the car.
The advertisement, played along with the slogan ‘This ad made people buckle up 30 years ago. Shame we have to play it again’, is part of the TAC’s Towards Zero campaign – aiming for no deaths or injuries on roads.
“The ad is a powerful one, with the young girl cut to pieces. It’s very realistic,” Acting Sgt Moser said.
The TAC recommends wearing a lap and shoulder seatbelt, which should be available on each seat of the vehicle including the middle back.
By law, it is a driver’s responsibility to ensure all passengers are restrained appropriately in the car, including children under the age of seven to be situated in an approved car seat.
“Drivers are responsible for anyone in the car, they have to make sure seatblets are being worn,” Acting Sgt Moser said.
Wearing a seatbelt is a simple way to lessen chances of injury or death during a car accident, and factors like audible beeping should make it simple for drivers and passengers to remember to wear one.
“I dont want to see [people injured]. I want people to be on the road getting home safely to their families,” Acting Sgt Moser said.
“Speed, no seatbelts, alcohol – the more risks we take, the higher the risk of injury and the higher the risk of poeple not making it home.
“Seatbelts save lives.”