(2) what assessment she has made of the costs and benefits of fitting seat belts to heavy goods vehicles;
(3) what her estimate is of the number of heavy goods vehicles that are not fitted with seat belts.
All vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross weight first used on or after 1 October 2001 have been required by law to be fitted with seat belts. The following table shows by year the number of goods vehicles in-use that were registered before that date.
Thousand 1997 442 1998 441 1999 459 2000 471 2001 466
Prior to 2001 some manufacturers were providing seat belts in their vehicles on a voluntary basis however we do not have statistics to show the fitting rate.
A cost and benefit study was conducted as part of the review leading to the mandatory requirement for seat belt installation. This concluded that, assuming 100 per cent. seat belt fitment, three lives and 35 serious injuries could be saved per year. At today’s values this represents a benefit of £9.9 million.
We estimate that in 2006, 266,000 vehicles first registered before October 2001, were still in use. However, a review of the age of the fleet by year shows that, on average, the number of vehicles registered before that date is reducing by approximately 40,000 per year.