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Half of Sweden's road fatalities failed to buckle up

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Half of Sweden's road fatalities failed to buckle up
12:48 CEST+02:00
Every other person killed in a traffic accident with cars, trucks or busses in urban areas was not wearing a seatbelt, reported the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket), after analysing all fatal accidents over the past five years.

"Without a belt, you can handle a collision going roughly 7 kilometres per hour, at best, providing you're prepared for the collision and strong enough to hold on," Bengt Svensson of the National Police Agency (Rikspolisstyrelsen) said in a statement.

The Transport Administration believe better information is needed about the impact of driving without seatbelts at low speeds.

"There is still ignorance about how important seatbelts are, even at low speed," said the Administration's traffic safety director Claes Tingvall.

"It's hard to explain the low usage any other way. The belt is there, takes only a few seconds to buckle, and costs nothing to use," he said.

Professional drivers are most careless when it comes to buckling up, according to a survey conducted by the National Society for Road Safety (Nationalföreningen för trafiksäkerhetens främjande - NTF).

"In heavy vehicles, such as large trucks, just under half of the drivers use their seatbelts," said NTF's CEO Jan Sandberg to daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

NTF is planning to conduct information campaigns promoting seatbelt use throughout the country, and the police will be tightening their checks on belt use between 12-18 September.

Sweden has had a law enforcing the use of seatbelts since 1975, and failure to buckle up can result in a fine of up to 1500 kronor ($230).

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