According to many road safety professionals, seatbelts remain the most crucial step in keeping motorists safe.

The fact is they save lives.

Invented in 1959 by a Volvo engineer, front seatbelts were mandatory in all new cars in the UK from 1965. However, the three-point seatbelt only became mandatory for drivers and front-seat passengers in January 1983.

It wasn’t until 1991 that all UK passengers were required to wear one.

Simple solutions

Estimates suggest that since 1983, the seatbelt has saved tens of thousands of lives, possibly as many as 100,000 in the UK.

Every week, on average, four young people aged 17 to 29 are either killed or seriously injured on roads when not wearing a seat belt.

The DfT figures reveal that young men are again the biggest casualties. They are more likely not to wear one, especially on short or well-known journeys.

In 2022, 30% of fatalities among 17- to 29-year-olds were unbelted.

To help combat this, THINK! has launched a new ‘CLICK’ campaign.

Helping together

Targeted advertising on roadside posters, radio, and social media is fundamental. But the £1.2m campaign will also collaborate with partners. These include various county football associations and local clubs, promoting ‘belting up’ when travelling to match days, whether supporting or playing,

Taxi and private hire vehicle companies, including Uber, also support the campaign. They want to give passengers direct reminders to wear seat belts when making journeys in cabs.

Essential habits

Guy Opperman, roads minister, said: “We know how important wearing a seat belt is, reducing the risk of death for drivers in a collision by 50%.

“This campaign is part of the government’s plan to make our roads even safer and aims to make clicking in a seat belt second nature to young men, who currently run the highest risk of death or serious injury – reminding them that a simple CLICK can save lives.”

This is the first seat belt-specific campaign since 2011. It uses relatable, personal moments between friends to drive home the consequences of not wearing a seat belt. Something as simple as clicking your seat belt could save your life and that of your friends, the message is.

It also reminds passengers of the importance of wearing a seat belt when travelling on a minibus, bus, or coach. Operators are expected to clearly signpost rules and individual responsibilities regarding belting up. Passengers over 14 years of age are expected to take responsibility for themselves and ensure they are buckled up.

Can you hear that

The creative approach focuses on the ‘CLICK’ sound of a seat belt fastening. This serves as an audible and visual reminder that something as simple as clicking your seat belt could save your life and the lives of your friends.

This ‘leverages the power of social consequences and relatable scenarios’ to shift attitudes and behaviours around seat belt wearing. It shows young men the range of ‘good times’ they risk missing out on (potentially forever) if they don’t belt up.

It will run across social media, radio, digital audio, digital display, and ‘contextually relevant’ out-of-home (OOH) sites until the end of April.

Rod Dennis, road safety spokesperson for The RAC, said: “To most people, it’s second nature to wear a seat belt,”. However, according to Dennis, “Young male drivers are much more likely to be seriously injured or killed than any other age group because they haven’t buckled up”.

“For this reason, we’re in full support of THINK!’s ‘CLICK’ campaign”.

Road safety professionals are encouraged to visit the stakeholder page on the THINK! website. Here, campaign assets and the toolkit, including a sample social copy, can be downloaded for free.

The THINK team is asking road safety professionals to share the campaign via their channels and networks to ‘help cut through with this important road safety message’.