Almost two in five (38%) drivers aged 25–34 admit they do not always wear a seat belt in cars, according to a new report by Brake, in partnership with Direct Line and Green Flag. The report, which surveying 2,004 drivers, also found almost a third (29%) of drivers aged 18–24, and more than a quarter (26%) of those aged 35–44, do not always belt up in cars.
This is a stark contrast to those aged 55 or over. Just 4% of drivers aged 55 or above, and 6% of those aged between 45 and 54, say they do not always belt up.
Drivers are being encouraged to access the Roadmap to Safe and Healthy Journeys
for information about ways to travel safely and sign a pledge to help lower deaths and serious injuries on UK roads.
Table: Survey question results: “Do you ever make a journey in a car without wearing a seat belt?”
The proportion of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seat belt has remained consistently above 20% in the past six years . Studies show seat belts reduce both fatal and non-fatal injuries by 60% for front seat passengers, and by 44% for rear seat passengers  .
Today’s new Brake report, in partnership with Direct Line and Green Flag, has been published to support their Roadmap to Safe and Healthy Journey project, an online resource that enables people to learn about, and commit to making, safe and healthy journey choices – including always wearing a seat belt.
Other findings from the new report include:
- More than one in 10 (12%) car passengers admit they wouldn’t speak out if the driver was speeding – with those aged 45–52 most likely to stay quiet (14%) and those aged 25–34 least likely to do so (8%)
- Male passengers are twice as likely as female passengers to not say anything if the driver was breaking the speed limit (16% versus 8%)
- A quarter (25%) of drivers said they have knowingly driven the morning after drinking, even though they may still be over the limit
- Only two-thirds (66%) check the weather forecast before making a long journey
- If it was snowing, more than one in 10 (13%) drivers would still make a non-urgent trip
- More than eight in 10 drivers (85%) check the pressure of their tyres less frequently than once a week.
The Brake, in partnership with Direct Line and Green Flag, Roadmap to Safe and Healthy Journeys gives people vital information they need to help them be safer on the roads. The project covers eight topics:
- Choosing the right vehicle
- Choosing the right mode of transport for a journey
- Checking it’s safe to travel
- Checking your car or bike is safe to use
- Making sure that you are fit to drive or ride
- Be safe and secure in your vehicle
- How to drive or ride safely
- What to do if you breakdown or crash.
By signing up to the free ‘My Brake’ hub at www.brake.org.uk, people can access the Roadmap’s information pages and get an action pack of resources to share on social media. They can also sign the Roadmap and pledge to play their part in helping everyone achieve safe and healthy journeys.
Jason Wakeford, Head of Campaigns at Brake, said: “Safety features on new cars, such as advanced emergency braking systems, and systems that keep vehicles under speed limits, are life-savers. It is tragic that despite these major technological advances, it remains the case that people continue to die or be catastrophically injured because some of us are still not using the most basic and vital vehicle safety feature of all – seat belts.
“We all have a responsibility to follow safety rules and help others to be safe on roads. Brake is urging people to visit the roadmap for information and resources to help them stay safe, and to pledge to play their part in reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
Lorraine Price, Head of Direct Line Motor Insurance, said: “By providing information and tools, through the Brake Roadmap, we believe we can give people the knowledge and understanding to make safe and considered choices, improving roads for everyone.”
Mark Newberry, Commercial Director at Green Flag, said: “At Green Flag we want drivers to feel well prepared when they’re on the roads and to reach their destinations safely. By supporting the Brake Roadmap, we can provide drivers with useful tips and information to help keep them, and others, on the road safe.”
Brake volunteer: Jeremy Williamson
In April 2006, Jeremy Williamson received a call from his parents’ house; it was a police officer calling about his brother, Simon, who had been involved in a collision. Jeremy immediately rushed to his parents’ house so the officer could explain further.
Simon’s car had hit a tree and his body took the full impact from the steering wheel, resulting in fatal internal bleeding.
His parents were understandably devastated. He witnessed them age and withdraw into themselves — the knock-on effect was heart-breaking and permanent. In a moment, they’d gone from having two sons to just one.
The two-second process of putting on his seatbelt would have likely saved Simon's life. Wearing a seatbelt halves your chances of dying in a crash.
 Reported road casualties in Great Britain: 2019 annual report, Department for Transport.
 Seat belts: time for action, PACTS.
 Hoye, A. (2016) How would increasing seat belt use affect the number of killed or seriously injured light vehicle occupants? Accident Analysis and Prevention, 88(1), 175-186.