Once again, all this week, officers from the Guardia Civil traffic department, supported by their colleagues in the police, will be out in force to ensure the correct use and operation of seatbelts and child restraint systems in vehicles. This special operation will run from Monday through next weekend.
In 2014 (the last year of consolidated data), the number of unbelted deaths accounted for 24% of the total, with some 194 of the 822 people in cars and vans who lost their lives, not wearing a seatbelt, despite knowing the importance of doing so.
In addition to the officers on patrol during the campaign, the DGT are operating three roadside cameras which will be under test during the week, prior to a mass roll-out across the road network by 2017. The cameras are in place on the A-1, A-2 and A-3, in Madrid, but throughout this year, 270 cameras will be in use across the country able to monitor seatbelts use.
The images captured by the cameras are electronically sent to a control centre which then processes the images and sends a sanction to the vehicle owner who then faces a 200 euro fine and the loss of 3 points.
It is the aim of the DGT to reduce this figure to zero by making the use of seatbelts and child restraint systems 100% for all vehicle occupants.
The focus of the campaign will not only be those who should know better about looking out for their own safety, but also those who should be looking out for those more vulnerable, namely adults who carry children in the vehicles.
In 2014, 2 out of the 14 children under 12 years who died traveling in cars or vans were not wearing any safety device at the time of the incident. In addition, 9 out of 82 seriously injured, and 107 of those who suffered minor injuries were not correctly restrained. From that data, 118 children suffered unnecessary injury or death as a result of the supposedly responsible adults not showing due care.
On account of the seriousness that the DGT takes such actions, the law was recently approved whereas traffic officers can immobilise a vehicle if a child is found to be travelling without the correct restraint system in use.
It is also important to remember that since October, children under 135 centimetres in height are not allowed to travel in the front seats of vehicles and must be properly restrained by a device appropriate to their height and weight.
The proper wearing of seatbelts and restraint systems is also vital to their correct use. All occupants in a vehicle must wear a seatbelt, whether they are in the front or the back, although some people incorrectly believe that wearing a seatbelt in the back is not necessary, it is, and it is also mandatory. If a person in a rear seat is not wearing a seatbelt they are 8 times more likely to kill the person in a seat in front of them.
Wearing a seatbelt is statistically proven to half the risk of death if involved in a collision as it also helps to distribute the force of the impact across the body and not directly at more vulnerable parts of the body. A seatbelt prevents the occupant being ejected from a vehicle, saving them from more serious injury.