Fewer children wearing seatbelts in England

The number of children who don’t wear seatbelts has risen by five per cent since 2009, according to statistics from the Department for Transport.

Figures released by the government today showed that 96 per cent of children in England wore seatbelts in 2009, compared to only 91 per cent throughout 2014.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill expressed his concern over the figures, saying that it was “very concerning to see a decline in seatbelt use, particularly among children”.

Seatbelts can prevent half of all fatal injuries

According to the stats, a fifth of people killed in road accidents during 2013 weren’t wearing a seatbelt, and research has found that seatbelts can prevent half of all fatal injuries.

However, the figures did show that, overall, 98.2 per cent of car drivers in England and Scotland together wear their seatbelts, while the belt-wearing rate for children overall has slightly risen since 2009.

The government also released figures showing the rate of mobile phone usage amongst drivers, with ‘white van men’ found to be almost twice as likely to be caught on the phone as other drivers.

Stats showed that 2.7 per cent of van drivers in England and Scotland were spotted using hand-held mobile devices last year, compared to only 1.4 per cent of car drivers.

Other observations shows that bus, coach and minibus drivers were the least likely to use mobiles behind the wheel, with only 0.4 per cent observed to be using phones while driving.

The Transport Minister said that the phone figures showed that the problem isn’t just limited to phone calls, but also to drivers who text or use the internet while behind the wheel.

“Disappointing but not surprising”

His sentiments were echoed by the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM), who said that the data was “disappointing but not at all surprising”, and calling for new measures to tackle the problems.

IAM director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Tackling mobile phone usage must be a government priority for 2015. People must have the fear of being caught increased as we believe this is the only viable deterrent, but that needs an increase in visible policing.”

“There are phones that have sensors within them which detect the motion of a car,” he added, “and can then immediately shut down calling and texting functions. This should be universal.”