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Published: 2000-11-15 00:00:00

Too few rear seat passengers are wearing seat belts, this week’s Regional Road Safety Subcommittee heard.

People in the Waikato Region were belting up in the front seat more often than the national average – 90 percent wearing belts compared with 89 percent nationally. The number of rear seat passengers using belts was very low (75 percent), but better than the national average (67 percent).

Chairman Morris McFall asked what needed to be done for people to use seat belts. Rear seat passengers not using seat belts also put front seat passengers at risk as they became missiles in a crash.

Measures such as not allowing the ignition to be turned on unless a belt was engaged had been discarded in other parts of the world because they occasionally put drivers at risk if they were unable to use their car to escape from dangerous situations quickly.

There had been a major increase of 127 percent in road safety funding for the Waikato Region as a whole this year, with the Regional Council’s road safety programme funding rising from $150,000 last year to $260,000, much of it for open road projects.

Land Transport Safety Authority representative Glenn Bunting said involvement of local authorities in the Regional Council’s road safety programmes needed to be encouraged, as the only way driver behaviour and attitudes could be changed was at a grass roots level.

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