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Wear your seat belt! 

We are all aware that seat belts must be worn at all times BY LAW but so many people ignore this law and by doing so are risking the possibility of serious injuries or even death in the event of an accident or impact. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that many parents do not take the safety of their children seriously enough and allow them to travel with out the use of the proper restraints.

It is the driver’s moral responsibility to ensure that the driver and all the passengers are wearing their seat belts or in the case of children, it is the DRIVER’S RESPONSIBILTY, to ensure that in addition to a seat belt they are in the appropriate car seat or booster seat where the law requires.

There was a campaign starting on the 17th September which coincided with the return to school for many children through out Spain with some very worrying results. During this campaign, which only lasted a week, there were found to be 2094 adults not wearing a belt and 198 children. The amount of adult drivers were 1388 and 706 were passengers, and whilst we may be comfortable in the knowledge and confidence of our driver, it is often other road users or weather conditions that cause an accident and not necessarily our driver. During this campaign, albeit a short one, 198 children who were found not to be wearing a restraint or seat belt , 41 were actually travelling in the front of the car and were under the permitted height to do so, very alarming.

A seat belt is a very important safety measure designed, along with further safety technology such as air bags, ABS brakes etc. and you should view it as a type of life insurance. You may also find that in the event of an accident if the driver or passengers were not wearing the appropriate seat belts, the Insurers may refuse to pay out on a claim for injuries, that is not withstanding the fines that the police can impose for not using a seat belt. It is very important that the belt is worn correctly i.e. not tucked under your arm or fitted very very loosely (generally with the modern seatbelts this is not possible).

Children under the height of 135cm MUST travel in the rear of a vehicle, this used to be based on age but now with the human race changing so much it has been changed to a height rather than age situation. All children must be restrained in an approved system that is suitable for their height and weight (in babies and younger children).

The ONLY exceptions for children in the front seats are when a vehicle does not have rear seats ie a van, when all rear seats are already occupied by other smaller children of the same characteristics or when it is not possible to install all child restraint systems in such cars. HOWEVER remember that if the Ficha Tecnica states that a car is five seats then that is the MAXIMUM number of people it may carry regardless of whether they are children or adults, carrying more passengers than the documentation permits will result in the insurance being nul and void.

Where children have to occupy a front seat , they MUST always have the approved and appropriate restraint system for thier weight/size and if the vehicle has a front airbag, only rear facing restraint systems can be used if the airbag has been deactivated. (Often there is a switch in the glove boxes of cars that permits the owner to switch this on or off as appropriate) .

Always remember the original UK slogan , “Clunk Click every trip”