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Lorries: Safety Belts

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many heavy goods vehicles not fitted with seat belts were registered in each of the last 10 years; (200470)

(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.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatalities and (b) injuries there were involving drivers of heavy goods vehicles which were not fitted with seat belts in each of the last 10 years. (200472)