Thursday, 31 January 2008 12:00 AM
Since they were made compulsory some 25 years ago seatbelts have saved some 60,000 lives, according to government figures.
The simple device has also prevented 670,000 serious injuries since January 31st 1983 - when seatbelts were made mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers.
However, they have not been universally accepted to date.
While nine out of ten drivers believe it is dangerous to riding in the backseat of a vehicle without a belt, only seven in ten wear them when sitting there, according to figures from the Department of Transport.
"Tens of thousands of lives have been saved since the first law on wearing seatbelts was introduced 25 years ago," said road safety minister, Jim Fitzpatrick.
"Government campaigns have helped increase the numbers of people wearing seatbelts to more than 90 per cent for drivers and front seat passengers but too many back seat passengers are still not belting up."
It was also made compulsory for children under 14 years-of-age to wear seatbelts in the rear of a vehicle in 1989.
"With up to 15 drivers and front seat passengers killed each year by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger it is vital that everyone - young or old, travelling in the front or back - wears a seatbelt," continued Mr Fitzpatrick.
However, despite the success of the scheme, some 370 people a year are killed on Britain's roads due to the lack of seatbelt, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
"It is shocking that a stubborn minority of people still do not belt up when they get into a vehicle. Research shows that about a third of car occupants receiving fatal injuries are not wearing seatbelts," said But Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the RoSPA.
"We need to understand why they are still not getting the message and to ensure there are regular targeted campaigns so that deaths and injuries continue to reduce," he concluded.