Police reminder: Concentrate on driving, keep everybody’s seat belts fastened

Publication date 15.9.2021 13.12
News item

Between 16 and 22 September 2021, the Police will have intensified and nationwide controls of safety equipment and focus on factors that impair attention in traffic, such as mobile phone use during driving.

During the control week, Tuesday 21 September coincides with the European Day Without a Road Death. The objective is to have at least one day in a year without somebody dying on European roads.

The Finnish campaign is a part of the pan-European Focus on the Road and Safety Days theme, promoted by the European traffic police network Roadpol.

Concentrate on driving when you drive

The control of lack of attention focuses on anything and everything that impacts concentration and traffic observation during driving. 

- The drivers’ most typical lack of attention is caused by the use of the phone while driving.  According to the estimates of the EU Commission, the lack of attention is a risk factor in 10 to 30 percent of traffic accidents, Chief Superintendent Heikki Kallio of the National Police Board points out.

He adds that the driver of a motor vehicle in motion must not use ITC equipment by holding the device in the hand. This also applies to tram drivers.

The sanction for violating this provision is either a 100 euro fine for traffic violation or 12 day fines, depending on the circumstances of the case. In both alternatives, the case is added to the so-called repeated infractions list which, in the end, affect the right to drive.

Fasten car backseat and van belts too

The road accident investigation teams have estimated that in fatal traffic accidents, one in three victims would have been saved by a fastened seat belt.

According to Chief Superintendent Kallio, the increased use of seat belts is a positive trend. 
However, in population centres and on backseats of cars as well in vans and lorries, the seat belt is still too often not fastened, as suggested by the follow-up study made by the Finnish Road Safety Council (Liikenneturva).  On the backseats of private cars, 89 percent of the passengers do fasten the belt while the percentage is 78 in case of vans.

- In crashes at population centre speed, a passenger sitting on a backseat and not wearing the seat belt may have a risk of injury three times that of a situation where the seat belt is fastened, Chief Superintendent Kallio adds.

Police methods include education, control and sanctions

Heikki Kallio says that the Police methods to promote the use of seat belts are simple: control, sanctions and education. 

In the current year, the total number of petty fines of 70 euro imposed on non-use of seat belts is 3,600 to date while the use of ICT equipment (mostly the cell phone) has resulted in the 100 euro traffic violation fine in 4,900 cases.

Under-3-year-olds always in a safety seat

Along with the enactment of the new Road Traffic Act (1 June 2020), the seat belt must be used in all cars where they have been installed. 

The provision regarding children under 3 years of age in a car changed so that a toddler under 3 cannot travel in a car, van or lorry if not buckled to a children’s car seat or infant carrier.

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