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Should celebs belt up again?

A motoring website is calling for a return of celebrity seatbelt endorsement, twenty-five years after wearing them became compulsory in the UK.

NEWCARNET.co.uk is calling for celebrities to endorse road safety in the same way that Sir Jimmy Saville backed the "Clunk-Click" campaign of the 1970s and 80s.

On the 25th anniversary of the law change, Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick revealed that seatbelts have prevented an estimated 60,000 deaths and 670,000 serious injuries.

On the 31st January 1983 seatbelts were made mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers.

NEWCARNET.co.uk's research says that nearly 4 million motorists still don't use the most basic of safety devices - the humble seatbelt - on UK roads.

It was 1971 when top Radio 1 DJ Sir Jimmy first told us we should make a routine to "clunk the door and click the seatbelt," every time we get in a car.

Other celebrities of the 70s, such as Alvin Stardust and Kevin Keegan, promoted the "Be Smart, Be Safe," message, while former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee brought us the memorably bizarre slogan "SPLINK" to help children cross the road.

No such campaigns were used when seatbelt laws were tightened for delivery drivers in 2005, however, and NEWCARNET.co.uk's research suggests an estimated 1.4 million people driving vans, some half of the total on the UK's roads, still don't wear a belt, in addition to 2.4 million car drivers.

"With people more obsessed with celebrities than ever, why isn't the government using them to change people's attitudes the way they did 30 years ago?" says NEWCARNET.co.uk's Massimo Pini.

"Manufacturers have spent millions of pounds making new cars safer than ever, but the government still needs to put the effort in to change attitudes, and lives, of everyone who uses the UK's roads."

You can watch Sir Jimmy, Kevin Keegan and Jon Pertwee's road safety films at www.newcarnet.co.uk/roadsafety

Posted on 31.01.2008
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