Reporters

Number of Belgians wearing seat belts reaches historic high

As much as 95 percent of motorists sitting in the front seat are wearing a seat belt nowadays. That's according to research done by VIAS Institute, the former Road Safety Agency.  

This figure was only 57 percent when similar research was done 15 years ago, in 1993. Passengers sitting in the back show a slightly worse report (86.3 percent), as do motorists and passengers in vans (85.5 percent). 

Stef Willems of the VIAS Institute is delighted with the results. He underlines that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of sustaining heavy injuries in the case of a collision with 40 to 50 percent. Willems explains the lower score for vans by the fact that van drivers are often delivering goods, getting in and out of their vehicle frequently, but he underlines that even in urban areas, at lower speed, a seat belt can make a huge difference.  

Even at a lower speed, a seat belt can make a big difference

Awareness campaigns and automatic seat belt alarms in cars are paying off, says Willems. As motorists changed their behaviour, "over 40 deaths or heavy injuries could be avoided over the past 3 years," the VIAS Institute calculated. Willems hopes seat belt alerts will become common in all cars for back seats as well. 

Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.  This remembrance day is held each year on the third Sunday of November.