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Kent County Council today (Tue Mar 27th) launches its seatbelt wearing campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a seatbelt for all journeys in a vehicle.
KCC have a specially commissioned film 'When Will it Click, Seatbelts Save Lives' using stop motion techniques to highlight the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. The film will be shown in cinemas across the county.
The campaign kicks off a range of town centre activities starting in Maidstone at Fremlin Walk on the 27th March from 10am, with a demonstration of its seatbelt sledge, before moving on to Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells, and Ashford throughout April.
The seatbelt sledge simulates a crash impact at only 6 mph but is a forceful reminder of the importance or belting up before every journey.
KCC Road Safety Team Leader, Steve Horton said, "6 mph sounds very slow but I urge anyone who thinks that wearing a seatbelt is not important to try the sledge. Even this low speed give quite a jolt, so imagine how much of an impact 30mph would be. Every year up to 10 lives in Kent could be saved if all vehicle occupants wore their seatbelt."
Steve continued, "Everyone wears a seatbelt or safety restrain on a rollercoaster. The forces here are very similar for a crash at speeds as low as 25mph. Its not difficult to imagine the scenes our rescue services have to deal with at the aftermath of a crash where any of the occupants have failed to do something as simple as wearing a seatbelt."
Since the introduction of compulsory seatbelt wearing in 1983, the government estimates that over 6,000 deaths and 670,000 serious injuries have been prevented. Driver and passengers aged between 17 and 34 have the lowest seatbelt wearing rates combined with the highest crash rate. In 2009, 1,059 car occupants were killed nationally, of these 21 % were not wearing a seatbelt.
Rear seat passengers are at equal risk to those in the front if they don't wear a seatbelt. In a 30mph impact a rear seat passenger would be thrown forward with a force over 25 times their body weight, colliding into the front seat, its occupants or against a multitude of numerous sharp and unforgiving objects inside or outside the vehicle.
Kent Police enforce seat belt wearing offences and will look to prosecute anyone in a car not wearing a seat belt.
For those aged under 14 the driver is responsible and will be the one fined for no compliance. Those aged 14 and over are liable for the fine if they are found not belted.
Safety Camera vans also support the enforcement of seat belt wearing law and can use photographic evidence to prosecute vehicle occupants not wearing seat belts.
KCC supports the Good Egg Guide, which provides information to parents on child restraints, including age and weight requirements,. To download a copy of the Guide visit www.protectchildgb.org.uk .
The penalty for not wearing a seat belt is £60. If you don't wear a belt and have a crash, the cost to your health could be much greater.
The Seatbelt sledge will be at the following towns:
Maidstone, Fremlin Walk 27th March - 10am
Canterbury, Whitefriars 7th April
Tunbridge Wells, The Clock Tower 11th April
Ashford, Town Centre High Street 14th April