Seat belt reminder in a car

RoadPol operation reveals persistent seatbelt violations across Europe

  • April 18, 2024

In its latest pan-European operation, RoadPol, a collaborative network of European road police forces, conducted a comprehensive enforcement effort focused on seat belt compliance and other safety measures. Despite concerted efforts, the findings underscored a concerning trend of persistent seatbelt violations among motorists across the continent.

Spanning a week in March, the operation saw participation from 31 European road police forces, conducting active roadside checks aimed at ensuring compliance with seatbelt regulations, child restraint usage, and helmet safety.

Results from the operation revealed that out of the 1,256,932 vehicles inspected, a staggering 94,771 violations were detected by police officers. This equated to a violation rate of 13.43%, mirroring the figures observed in a similar operation carried out by RoadPol a year earlier. Notably, this year’s operation involved ten additional countries compared to the previous year. However, due to variations in how violations are recorded across countries, RoadPol only recorded the total number of violations this year.

Chief Commissioner Jana Peleskova, Head of the RoadPol Operational Working Group and a member of the Czech Police, emphasised the critical importance of seatbelt enforcement for road safety. Peleskova highlighted the dual function of seat belts in securely restraining occupants during a collision, preventing ejection from the vehicle and minimising the risk of colliding with interior components such as the steering wheel or dashboard. While acknowledging the role of airbags, Peleskova stressed that their effectiveness heavily relies on occupants being properly restrained by seat belts.

Citing research, Peleskova emphasised the life-saving potential of seatbelts, indicating a reduction of fatal injury risk by 37% to 48% depending on the occupant’s position in the vehicle. Furthermore, she noted that child restraints offer even greater protection, reducing the risk of fatal injury by up to 50%.