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Fresh calls have been made by campaigners and insurers for the government to make seat belt warnings mandatory in all cars.

The appeals follow a new report from AXA UK and road safety charity Brake, which found that a quarter of fatalities from car crashes were not wearing seat belts. This includes 24% of drivers and 26% of passengers over the last five years, rising to 41% of those in crashes occurring during the night. This is despite the fact that 96% of car users claim they always wear one.

The EU General Safety Regulation already specifies that seat belt reminders are required. Now, AXA UK and Brake want the government to follow suit.

The report made several other recommendations for the government to improve seat belt use and road safety. This included expanding the rollout of cameras that can detect when fleet drivers aren’t wearing a belt, as well as updating an “archaic” law exempting taxi drivers from wearing one.

The law was originally introduced as a protective measure against passengers looking to trap taxi drivers with belts while stealing their cash. However, the report argues that the widespread uptake of protective screens in taxis means this is no longer necessary.

Brake CEO, Ross Moorlock, said: “Over the last five years, a quarter of car drivers and passengers who died in road crashes on roads in Britain weren’t wearing a seat belt. From 2018 to 2022, more than 3,000 car occupants have died and 44,000 have suffered serious injuries.

“It’s reasonable to assume, therefore, that during this time period, more than 11,000 people may perhaps have been able to protect themselves against traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal injury, and damage to internal organs.”

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