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Half of Sweden's road fatalities failed to buckle up

TT/Clara Guibourg · 10 Sep 2011, 12:48

Published: 10 Sep 2011 12:48 GMT+02:00

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"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.

Story continues below…

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).

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:25 September 10, 2011 by Abe L
Just Darwin at work, nobody to feel sorry for. Sadly all legal speeds in Sweden are low (really 70 on a highway?), so the ignorance part seems to apply all the time.

Surprisingly there is only a minor fee for violating the seatbelt law, though speeding only briefly over the limit will make you loose your license.

I'm mostly left wondering what the other half died from?
15:03 September 10, 2011 by occassional
Some of this is imported macho culture no doubt.
16:06 September 10, 2011 by JulieLou40
I'm betting the other half died from using their mobile phones while driving. For all that Sweden purports it is a safe country, the fact that they are the only country left in the EU where talking on a mobile while driving is still legal, is ridiculous, pathetic, and dangerous.
16:14 September 10, 2011 by enjoysnj
The heading of this news also suggests that half of those fatalities were wearing a seatbelt. Does wearing a seatbelt really reduce the likelyhood of being killed in an accident?
18:49 September 10, 2011 by J Jack
That last comment was pretty naive. A moving car is a potential life threat to anyone inside, seat belts do save lives but there are circumstances where nothing can save you. Some times it involves drowning, asphyxiation, fire, freezing to death or even just shock from waiting too long for help. There are only four points the size of a postcard between you and the road. Consider that before criticizing the speed limits. There are many things taken into account in establishing these limits. Put the focus back on driver stupidity which is what the article is trying to point out. Drive in Sweden, see for yourself.
22:02 September 10, 2011 by jamesblish
I've no problem with this. As long as people only kill themselves, it's not a collective problem. If you're riding in your car alone or riding your bike - not wearing a belt, helmet etc. should be legal. If you're in the backseat etc. though, buckle up. Others will die too.
23:53 September 10, 2011 by Brianito
"Actions speak louder than words" - so instead of sitting around talking about the problem, why don't they go and do something about it. The law must be changed so the penalty is higher, then get the police on the streets to do the job they are getting paid to ... don't worry, it will work, once the Government see the money from the fines filling their coffers it will be fully implemented . Then they will decide to pass a law banning the use of mobile phones whilst driving, filling their coffers even more, some of this money can then be used to employ more police to really put the laws into effect.... it's a "win-win" situation! ..... I'll shut up now, just in-case they decide to deport me for my intelligence. Btw ... JulieLou40 .... I agree with you.
11:31 September 11, 2011 by johan rebel
Who cares if people buckle-up? If they want to play the motorized version of natural selection then that's perfectly fine by me.

The Swedish authorities also need to get their priorities right. At least 3,000 patients die every year as a result of avoidable mistakes in the country's wonderful "free" health care system. Almost as many die in simple accidents in the home, such as tripping over the doorsill.

Don't waste time and money trying to force the unwilling to wear seatbelts., start sorting out the real problems instead.

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