The elephant in the car — drivers warned of seat belt dangers

The elephant in the car — drivers warned of seat belt dangers
Drivers have been warned they could be hit by the force of an elephant if their backseat passengers don’t buckle up.

An unrestrained backseat passenger could become a deadly in-car missile in the event of a collision and fatally crush front seat passengers with a force of several tonnes.

The chilling warning comes after recent Department for Transport (DfT) figures showed 27% of people killed on the UK’s roads last year weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

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In a 30mph collision, an unbuckled backseat passenger will hit the front seats with a force of around 30 times their body weight, which could equal the weight of a small elephant.

It’s estimated around 40 front seat passengers are killed every year in road collisions in which they’ve been crushed by a backseat passenger not wearing a seatbelt. 

READ MORE: Seat belt law — how to keep safe and avoid fines

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “It’s frightening to think people are still not wearing seatbelts when they have been proved time and again to save lives. But, even if you’re wearing yours you could still face severe injury or death as a result of a backseat passenger not wearing theirs.

“Since it was made law to wear seatbelts in 1983 the number of lives lost on the road has decreased dramatically despite the fact we now have so many more vehicles on our roads today than we had 35 years ago.

Drivers have been warned they could be hit by the force of an elephant if their backseat passengers don’t buckle up.

An unrestrained backseat passenger could become a deadly in-car missile in the event of a collision and fatally crush front seat passengers with a force of several tonnes.

The chilling warning comes after recent Department for Transport (DfT) figures showed 27% of people killed on the UK’s roads last year weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

SEE ALSO: Car seat laws: everything you need to know

The law states that if your vehicle is fitted with seat belts then you are legally required to wear them, unless you have a valid medical exemption certificate.

If you’re caught travelling in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt and no exemptions apply then you could face an on-the-spot fine of £100, which could rise to £500 if the case goes to court.

Legally, if a backseat passenger is aged 14 or over then it is their own responsibility to wear a seatbelt. For children aged under 14 and pets, the responsibility rests with the driver.

However, with the dangers of unbuckled backseat passengers clear, it’s important to ensure that all passengers are safely wearing seatbelts before heading off on any journey.

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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