All of this week, the Guardia Civil traffic department will be carrying out intensified checks on the wearing of seatbelts and child restraints in cars.
The seatbelt is a fundamental element of vehicle safety and reduces the risk of death by a half. Not wearing a seatbelt, along with alcohol and drugs and inappropriate speed is one of the principal factors in road fatalities and serious injuries.
The use of a seatbelt is mandatory for all occupants of a vehicle, in both the front and rear seats, and the number of passengers allowed to be carried are equal to the number of seatbelts. In other words, if there are only two seatbelts in the back, only two passengers can be carried.
Children less than 1.5 metres in height are also required to use appropriate restraints in vehicles which match their height and, in some cases, weight.
Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to travel in the front seat, unless using a properly fitted and approved restraint, with the only exception being when the child’s height is equal to or greater than 135 centimetres, in which case they can use the normal seatbelt.
In the rear seats, people whose height does not reach 135 centimetres must use a properly fitted child restraint system suitable for their height and weight. People whose height is equal to or greater than 135 centimetres and no greater than 150 centimetres, may either use a child restraint system suitable for their height and weight or the fitted seatbelt.
According to the DGT, 70% of children in cars are not properly protected. The correct use of child restraints helps reduce the injuries from an accident by 75%. Incredibly, nine out of ten children in serious or fatal crashes were not using child restraints correctly.
In the last campaign in March, over 5,000 adults were fined for not wearing their seatbelt. In addition, a staggering 287 children under 12 were found travelling without any kind of restraint, 70 of whom were in the front seat, 217 in the rear.
The intensified campaign will run from the 7th through to the 14th of September.