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All this week, including through the weekend, officers from the Guardia Civil, supported by colleagues from the National, Regional and Local Police, are keeping a watchful eye on the roads, paying particularly close attention to the wearing of seatbelts and correct child restraint systems.

The first point to make is that the statistics show how using a seatbelt reduces the risk of death by a half, a message repeated by countless authorities, experts and support organisation around the world.

It is also important to remember that children under 135 centimetres in height must sit in the rear seats, and be properly restrained in an appropriate, secured device. There are exceptions, such as if the vehicle doesn’t have rear seats, or if the rear seats are already occupied by children, but the rule is clear, children are not permitted in the front seats under normal circumstances.

In 2015, the last year of which completed data is registered, 22% (159) of those who lost their lives in cars or vans on interurban roads were not wearing a seatbelt. On urban roads, the figure was 19 out of 70 of those killed. Many of those people are most likely to still be alive today, had they been wearing a seatbelt.

The use of seatbelts and child restraints is compulsory for all occupants of a vehicle, on any route (either short or long) and on any road (urban or interurban).

It is a basic and fundamental element of road safety and its use has saved thousands of lives. According to several European Union studies, fastening the seat belt when travelling in a vehicle would save the lives of more than 7,000 people in the European Union each year.

Using the seatbelt in the front seats protects the occupants from getting thrown from the vehicle or impacting the dashboard. Using the seatbelt in the rear seats prevents the occupant impacting with the seat in front and causing further injury to other vehicle occupants. In a frontal impact, the likelihood that one occupant of the rear seats will mortally hit another passenger in the front seats is multiplied by eight

A frontal crash at 80 kilometres per hour, without wearing a seatbelt is often accompanied by death or serious injury.

The message is simple, always wear your seatbelt.

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