Motorists in Birmingham five times less likely to wear a seatbelt

A new advertising campaign has been launched to encourage people to belt up in cars after figures revealed motorists in Birmingham were five times less likely to use a seatbelt than the national average.

The hard-hitting Fasten your Future campaign, featuring social media videos, shows the consequences of failing to wear a seatbelt for young people – the potential future life events they will miss out on.

The videos have been developed in collaboration with young people, those aged 16-24, from Birmingham’s South Asian heritage who, according to local research, are statistically most at risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision.

The campaign has launched in the week a new West Midlands Road Safety Strategy is published setting out an ambition to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the region’s road to zero. A previous strategy in 2019 set a 40% reduction in accidents resulting in a fatality or serious injury over ten years to 2028.

The most recent figures show the number has reduced by 16.2% over the last four reported years. (Comparing data for the 2019-2021 period with the 2015-2017 baseline). As well as saving lives, the fall in fatalities and serious injuries has also reduced the average annual regional cost to society of road accidents by £25 million a year, under criteria set out by the Department for Transport.

Now under a long-term mission called Vision Zero, the new Regional Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030 recognises that it is unacceptable that people are killed or seriously injured on our road network. The West Midlands Road Safety Partnership, which includes local authorities and external stakeholders, are now working collectively to develop and Action Plan that delivers on local and regional priorities in a collaborative approach to achieving the region’s ambitions.

The Road Safety Action Plan will set out a range of actions to be considered, including safer design of both vehicles and highways, better training and education for motorists and enforcement. The Road Safety Partnership will seek to obtain extra funding and powers to deliver safety measures, such as civil enforcement of moving traffic contraventions, expansion of average speed enforcement and securing funding from developments to improve safety measures.

The new strategy for 2023-2030 has been developed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and local councils, which have a legal duty to improve road safety, working with a range of partners including the police and emergency services. Darren Divall, regional road safety manager for TfWM, said:

“It is imperative that we continually review and refresh our approach to road safety and that we are working towards a common goal with a long-term mission, whereby nobody is killed on our roads.

“As well as better protecting life and limb, this goal will also contribute to our aims of reducing congestion alongside the huge impact accidents have on society and our economy as a whole.

“We know this will be hard, we do not expect to achieve Vision Zero within the timeframe of this strategy, however it is right that we set out our long-term ambitions and vow not to let up in our focus on road safety until this is achieved.”

The strategy sets out how measures taken will be led by evidence and will include further means to reduce and enforce speeding – the key factor in the severity of collisions and resulting injuries. Simon Foster, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, added:

“Vision Zero is a necessity. We simply cannot accept death and serious injury on the region’s road network. “That is why I made a commitment to ensure that road safety is at the heart of an ambitious and strong road safety strategy, that encourages collaboration and drives the partnership towards delivery of a safe road network.

“Proper enforcement of speeding and other offending on our roads is vital in creating a safe environment. However, income from fines currently goes to central government and is not retained locally for investment in road safety initiatives. As a result, schemes are small in number and do not address the scale of the problem. We need to change that.”

The draft West Midlands Road Safety Strategy is set to be published on Friday, 12 May, for stakeholders and residents to review and have their say and will be available on the TfWM website. It will sit alongside the region’s emerging Local Transport Plan called Reimaging Transport in the West Midlands.


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