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Vehicle deaths at an all-time low 30 years after seat belt law

Since it became compulsory to wear seat belts in the front seat on 31st January 1983, fatalities in vehicles have fallen to an all-time low, say the RAC.

RAC analysis of 30 years of Department for Transport road casualty statistics shows that at the end of that year 2,245 people lost their lives in vehicles whilst 28,331 were seriously injured.

In 2012, the latest figures available, fatalities had fallen to 888 – a 60% reduction of 1,357 since 1983 – and serious injuries are down to 9,258 – a 67% reduction of 19,073.

While vehicle safety technology has advanced dramatically in this time with the introduction of airbags, anti-lock braking systems, side impact protection, improved structural design and other safety features, seat belts have undoubtedly made a big contribution to saving lives.

Despite this positive news, the RAC is concerned about the number of young drivers still dying on the roads.

Young drivers aged under 25 make up 25% of all those drivers killed or seriously injured on the road network, but account for only 8% of licence holders. They also drive, on average, less than half as far as those aged over 25. This is a problem that needs to be addressed urgently, says the RAC.

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