Seatbelts and safety
The Guardia Civil have announced that they will be intensifying the spot checks on road users for the correct use of seat-belts by all passengers, including children travelling in Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands.
As we all know it is against the law not to wear a seat belt and this is for the safety of the passengers and driver in the event of an accident. Incorrec-tly fitted or worn seatbelts can be fatal in a major or some-times in a minor accident and we should all be aware of the correct way to use our belts. Not wearing a seatbelt, alcohol and drugs account for almost half the fatalities on Spanish roads and many people disregard them frequently. Whilst this is not only a danger it can result in a substantial fine being incurred if stopped by the police who are becoming more and more vigilant on safety measures in order to try and avoid so many fatalities on the roads.
The number of seatbelts fitted denotes the amount of people that a vehicle may carry for example if there are only two seatbelts fitted to the rear then the car is only permitted by law to carry four people not five as sometimes happens.
Children must wear the appropriate seatbelt or restraints according to their height and sometimes weight. The DGT state that some 70% of children travelling in cars are not properly protected and that the correct use of child restraints reduces the likelihood of serious injury by 75%.
The rules and law on children and seatbelts is quite clear. All adults MUST wear seatbelts but children under the age of 12 are NOT permitted to travel in the front of the vehicle unless using a properly fitted and approved restraint. There is only one exception to this and that is where the child’s height is 135 cms or equal to and they are then permitted to use a normal seatbelt in a front seat.
In the rear of the vehicle where the child’s height does not reach 135 cms then the must use an appropriate fitting for their height and weight. Children whose heights equal to or exceeds 135cms but is less than 150 cms may use a child restrain suitable for their height and weight of the normal seatbelt.
In a similar campaign carried out in March over 5000 adults were caught and fined for not wearing a seatbelt. In addition to this an absolute staggering amount 287 children were found travelling without any kind of restraint and 70 of those were in the front of the vehicle whilst the rest were in the rear.
One must remember that when you are driving you should be concentrating on the road ahead and other road users and pedestrians and not worrying about children either regardless of if you can see them in the mirror.
The same law applies to dogs who must also be properly restrained if seated in the rear of a car with the appropriate harness coupled into the seatbelt restraint or be carried in the rear of a vehicle such as an estate car or perhaps a Citroen Berlingo or similar behind a well fitted dog guard which can be purchased from most large pet shops or online.
So to recap ALWAYS wear your seatbelt and make sure that your passengers and/or animals are also belted up securely. Be safe not sorry.