Malta’s drivers and car passengers are among the EU’s most safety-conscious, a report by the European Transport Safety Council has revealed, with over 95 per cent of front-seat occupants who wear their seat belt.
According to the ETSC’s road safety performance index, Malta ranked among the top three states along with France and Germany with the highest levels of seat belt wearing. In the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the U.K. this is between 90 per cent and 95 per cent.
But rear-seat passengers are still clearly not in the mood for belting themselves up – just 25 per cent of passengers tighten the strap at the back.
Drivers and passengers found not wearing the front or rear-seat seatbelts are liable to a fine of between Lm10-Lm25.
Using the seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by about 50 per cent. In fact, the report states that 10 out of the 16 occupant deaths in 2005 in Malta had not being wearing a seat belt.
Malta unsurprisingly emerged as the EU member state with the least number of road deaths between 2001 and 2005, averaging 15 fatalities a year. Similarly, Luxembourg continued with a steady decrease in fatalities, with just 46 deaths in 2005.
France, Germany, Italy and Poland had over 5,300 road deaths – the countries with the highest toll of motoring fatalities.
On the other hand, Britain was said to be fast losing the battle to reduce road deaths. The country has trebled the number of roadside cameras in the last six years, while mobile speed traps set up across the country have increased 14-fold. Despite the presence of 5,562 roadside speed cameras, Britain has 54 road deaths per million of population. Countries like France and Belgium have 973 and 1,180 speed cameras.