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Road Safety

Volume 447: debated on Monday 19 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to increase the seatbelt-wearing rate in Northern Ireland over the next five years. (77379)

The Department of the Environment already develops seatbelt campaigns, supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to ensure that all vehicle occupants are aware of the need to wear seat belts. The Department's Road Safety Education Officers provide teaching resources, training and support and liaise with teachers in all schools in Northern Ireland to ensure that children are encouraged to wear seatbelts.

Measures planned to increase the seatbelt wearing rate in Northern Ireland are:

New primary road traffic legislation on which the Department has consulted will be introduced in due course. This includes making the failure to wear seatbelts an endorsable offence.

Consultations have taken place on Directive 2003/20/EC, including proposals to require seatbelt wearing on buses and coaches where they are fitted and the use of child restraints in cars and goods vehicles. The Department plans to make an announcement on the way forward over the next few weeks.

A new publicity campaign highlighting the dangers of not wearing seatbelts is planned for September.