Car Accidents

Car Accidents

The Safety Belt Is The Most Important Lifesaver

Nov 2016

The number is food for thought. In 2015, over a fifth (21.2%) of car occupants killed in road accidents in Germany were not wearing a safety belt. This was revealed in a survey carried out in April 2016 by the German Road Safety Council (DVR) in ten German federal states, the results of which were published in November 2016. There was no relevant data available from the other six states.

In 2015, a total of 1,620 car occupants were killed in road accidents in Germany according to data from the Federal Statistical Office. Thus, according to the survey mentioned, over 340 of the occupants killed were not wearing a safety belt. As in the case of some accidents it was not possible to clearly determine whether the victims were wearing a safety belt, the proportion of those not wearing a safety belt according to the German Road Safety Council might be even higher still. As the survey revealed, the proportion of occupants killed while not wearing a safety belt in commercial vehicles was 14.5%. Therefore, of the 146 commercial vehicle occupants killed, 21 were not wearing a safety belt.

Things do not look much better in other EU member states. For example, in 2015 in France, according to data from the “Observatoire National Interministériel de la Sécurité Routière” 21% of car occupants killed were not wearing a safety belt. As many as 38% of the commercial vehicle occupants killed were not wearing a safety belt.

According to Clemens Klinke, member of the DEKRA SE Management Board in charge of Automotive business unit and Vice President of the German Road Safety Council, the ever new safety technologies and driver assistance systems cannot hide the importance of one thing – “the use of a safety belt is still always the most important measure for reducing the risk of serious injuries to vehicle occupants.” This applies not just on rural roads and highways, but also in urban traffic.

However, many drivers make a dangerous error – particularly in urban areas and a low speeds, putting on a safety belt is all too often overlooked – in the assumption one could use one’s hands if necessary to absorb the blow in an accident in the city or leave it to the airbag. But that is a fatal error in judgment, as crash tests run by DEKRA regularly prove. “Even a collision at 14 kilometers per hour into a solid obstacle creates forces corresponding to eight times bodyweight,” points out Clemens Klinke. And people could not withstand such forces. Therefore, there is only one recommendation – as the most important lifesaver, the safety belt must be worn by those sitting in the front and back seats at all times.