If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you are far more likely to die in a car. There. We can’t make it much simpler or clearer than that.
And yet, an unbelievably high number of Australians are still ignoring the obvious statistics and plain common sense, and taking their chances in cars every single day by not buckling up.
Occupants who don’t buckle up before hitting the road are 30 times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle in a crash, and are twice as likely to be killed in a collision compared with those who wear a seatbelt.
This graphic dramatisation of a crash involving three unrestrained occupants was part of a Think! campaign designed to shock UK road users into buckling up.
But a report by The Age has found that, incredibly, one in five victims of car crashes in Victoria this year was not wearing a seatbelt. Of the 133 people killed in 2019 on Victorian roads, 27 were not buckled in and in 40 cases, it was not possible to determine if they were restrained or not.
Read next: What happens in a car crash
The sums are not hard, therefore – if every driver in Victoria had been wearing a seatbelt, the 2019 road toll would likely be under 100 right now. So what’s going wrong?
Even more alarmingly, the rate of people choosing to not wear a seatbelt appears to be on the rise. In 2018, 14 percent of victims were not wearing a seatbelt, compared with 20 percent to date this year, the report finds. If that trend continues, it will be the bleakest result since 2013.
According to the report, a majority of the deaths occurred in rural areas, with many drivers feeling less scrutinised by the law and more complacent as a result. Chillingly though, outback roads are where the statistics are even more grim and more care at the wheel is advised – including the simple act of putting on a seatbelt.
There are plenty of ways to increase your chances of serious injury or death on the road including driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, using a mobile phone or excessive speed, but simply not wearing a seatbelt seems like the most perplexingly stupid and unecessary way of dramatically increasing your risk.
If you are one of the worryingly high and growing numbers of Australians that decide to save yourself two seconds by not clipping in - or you know someone who doesn't - ask yourself why, and is it really worth it?