Exceeding speed limits, drunk driving and failure to use seat-belts and child restraints are the major causes of death on the roads. Wearing a seat belt is the cheapest way to avoid injures. According to the Global Road Safety Report prepared by the Transport Division of UN’s Economic Commission for Europe in 2009, around 50% of people killed in road crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, it is still not compulsory in many countries to wear a seatbelt for all passengers and child restraint systems are not regulated as well.
Correctly installed child restraints reduce deaths among infants by approximately 70% and deaths of small children by 54% to 80%.
UN regularly organises awareness-raising campaigns in regions with low rates of seatbelt usage to educate local drivers.
According to EU legislation, seatbelts are compulsory for the driver and passengers in all vehicles. The Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal facilitating cross-border enforcement in the field of road safety considers 7.300 road deaths in the EU to be associated with non-use of seatbelts.
Children less than 1.35 metres tall, or travelling in cars fitted with safety devices, must be restrained by an approved device adapted to their weight. The use of rearward-facing child restraints is no longer allowed on the front passenger seat unless its airbag has been deactivated.