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AA: Purchase cars with three-point seat belts

14 February 2006

AA urges motorists to purchase cars with three-point seat belts

The AA encourages motorists to purchase cars with three-point seat belts if they intend on regularly carrying passengers.

Jack Biddle, AA Technical Advice Manager, says "in the event of an accident, a three-point belt in the centre of the rear seat provides far greater protection for passengers than a lap belt.

"We are delighted that some manufacturers are looking out for passenger safety and, in addition to introducing a range of features such as side and curtain airbags, have already phased out lap belts from their new cars."

The AA does not believe three-point belts should be made compulsory in all cars.

"Replacing a lap belt with a three-point belt is not a simple process. Three- point belts can only be fitted to certain cars as not all models have the appropriate metal framework. There is no point attaching a belt to a piece of metal that is not strong enough and will easily snap when put under pressure," says Mr Biddle.

"The average age of cars on our roads is nearly 12 years - most of the older vehicles will have lap seat belts fitted. The idea of fitting three-point belts to all cars that do not already have them is a very costly and unrealistic one."

"The AA will be asking Land Transport New Zealand to set a cut-off date from which all late model cars imported into New Zealand must be fitted with three-point belts in all seating positions."

"The AA reminds all motorists and passengers that over the past three years, at least 263 people have been killed and 1190 injured in motor accidents because they were not wearing a seat belt. While a lap belt may not protect passengers as well in a severe accident as a three-point belt, wearing a lap belt is potentially life saving and should be worn if these are fitted, " says Mr Biddle.

ENDS

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