Deaths and serious injuries to front seat occupants of cars and light vans in the first two months of compulsory seat belt wearing were down by 25 per cent. on the same period a year ago. That is equivalent to a saving of 1,100 fatal and serious casualties. It is, of course, too early to assess the full effects, but it clearly looks most encouraging.
We have no national figures, but there have been a limited number of prosecutions and a large number of warnings. It is most encouraging that, without great public complaint of aggressive interference by the police, the latest figures available to my Department show that the number of front seat passengers and drivers now using seat belts has increased from 40 to 95 per cent.
It is too early to draw absolutely clear conclusions. However, I have said specifically that the figures are most encouraging. We shall watch them carefully, because the savings in life, hardship and distress that appear to have resulted from this change should be welcomed by everyone.