“Too many people are still not wearing seat belts, especially back seat passengers.”

NATIONAL NEWS AND VIDEOS – Only 40% of South African motorists wear seat belts.

This staggering statistic is, according to acting director of provincial traffic law enforcement, Nathan Arendse, a major contributor to the death toll on our roads.

“Too many people are still not wearing seat belts, especially back seat passengers,” said Arendse.

“For example, three young people were fatally ejected in a horror crash on the N2 [near Cape Town] recently. Evidence suggests that they were not wearing seat belts and they sustained severe secondary injuries, including being hit by a passing vehicle. Last year, car accidents killed 1 319 people. This year we are already on 197.”

Who has to wear a seat belt?

According to the public relations manager of the Automobile Association (AA), Layton Beard, it is compulsory for everyone inside a vehicle to wear a seat belt. Even the passengers on the back seat.

“It is the law that everyone wears a seat belt. Children younger than three have to sit in a car seat in the back. There are still too many parents who travel with their children on their lap or allow their toddlers to stand in the car while driving.

“Often parents are under the impression that it is okay for the child to be on their lap or held in their arms, but this is useless in a crash because of the forces [of gravity] that are involved.

“No parent, no matter how strong, will be able to hold their child and he or she will go straight through the window. 

“It should be second nature to get in and strap up and parents should set the example,” he said.

Toyota Etios in a crash simulation.

Accidents and people not buckling up

The head of the department of trauma at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Professor Sebastian van As, said that if a car accident happens and a child is thrown out of the car, there is a 75 percent chance that the child will die.

“Trauma kills more people under the age of 18 than any disease. Most of the fatalities are pedestrians, but the second biggest number are children thrown out of cars,” he said.

According to him children that are loose in the car are usually thrown out and they become like missiles. If a child is in the back seat and the car comes to a sudden stop in a crash, the child becomes a projectile that can decapitate the people sitting in the front seat.

Watch what happens when not wearing a seat belt:

ER24’s communications officer, Russel Meiring, reiterated the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

“Wearing a seatbelt at all times is of utmost importance. Even if you are just going around the block. Even if you consider yourself a great driver.

“Accidents can happen at any time. Buckling up is the easiest thing to do and could potentially save a life. Yet, people choose to ignore this.”

Watch the consequences of driving without a seat belt:

Watch what happens when children are not buckled up:

He said that, when people are not wearing seat belts during a high-speed crash, they can easily be ejected from the vehicle or go headfirst into the windshield.

People’s chest and/or legs can crash into the dashboard and passengers not restrained in the back can be thrown from the vehicle.

Click here to watch more videos.

* Global New Car Assessment Programme (Ncap) and AA South Africa recently launched the first independent crash test assessment of some of South Africa’s most popular compact and small cars.

The crash worthiness results of the five cars tested show a wide range of safety performance, from four to zero stars for adult protection, with the lowest ratings reflecting a high probability of life-threatening injury in a road crash.

Read more about this as well as the law on wearing seat belts in South Africa below:




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