Starting on Monday, the Guardia Civil traffic department, supported by their colleagues in the police, will be out in force to ensure the correct use and operation of seat belts and child restraint systems in vehicles.
In 2014 (the last year of consolidated data), the number of unbelted deaths accounted for 24% of the total, with some 194 of the 822 people in cars and vans who lost their lives, not wearing a seat belt, despite knowing the importance of doing so.
The object of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of the use of seat belts and child restraint systems, to prevent injuries caused during a serious incident. The use of seat belts and the SRI reduces the chances of death by almost 50 percent in the case of an incident. The seat belt is both useful and mandatory for any journey, long or short, urban or interurban, and in both the front seats as in the rear.
Statistically, approximately 25 percent of fatalities on roads do not use seat belts. This percentage exceeds 30 percent when it comes to urban roads.
In addition to the officers on patrol during the campaign, the new cameras and detectors are in place across the country watching for seat belt use, and the Pegasus equipped helicopters will be watching form the sky..
The latest roadside cameras take a series of pictures. The images are electronically sent to a control centre which then processes them and sends a sanction to the vehicle owner who then faces a 200 euro fine and the loss of 3 points.
It is the aim of the DGT to reduce this figure to zero by making the use of seat belts and appropriate child restraint systems 100% for all vehicle occupants.
The focus of the campaign will not only be those who should know better about looking out for their own safety, but also those who should be looking out for those more vulnerable, namely adults who carry children in the vehicles.
In 2014, 2 out of the 14 children under 12 years who died in cars or vans were not wearing any safety device at the time of the incident. In addition, 9 out of 82 seriously injured, and 107 of those who suffered minor injuries were not correctly restrained. From that data, 118 children suffered unnecessary injury or death as a result of the supposedly responsible adults not showing due care.
On account of the seriousness that the DGT takes such actions, traffic officers can immobilise a vehicle if a child is found to be travelling without the correct restraint system in use.
It is also important to remember that children under 135 centimetres in height are not allowed to travel in the front seats of vehicles and must be properly restrained by a device appropriate to their height and weight.
The proper wearing of seat belts and restraint systems is also vital to their correct use. All occupants in a vehicle must wear a seat belt, whether they are in the front or the back, although some people incorrectly believe that wearing a seat belt in the back is not necessary, it is, and it is also mandatory. If a person in a rear seat is not wearing a seat belt they are 8 times more likely to kill the person in a seat in front of them.
Wearing a seat belt is statistically proven to half the risk of death if involved in a collision as it also helps to distribute the force of the impact across the body and not directly at more vulnerable parts of the body. A seat belt prevents the occupant being ejected from a vehicle, saving them from more serious injury.