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Many regular buses and coaches are now equipped with seat belts for the passengers. It is therefore mandatory to actually put them on, but this is almost never taken into account. However, failing to do so can not only result in a fine of 149 euros, in an accident passengers without a seat belt are usually much worse off, and the insurance will probably pay out even less.

Seat belts: we've been doing it almost automatically for almost fifty years. With the introduction of the so-called mandatory seat belt in 1975, it was only necessary in the front of the car, seventeen years later it was also the turn of the passengers in the back seat. Later still, only in this century, the first safety belts appeared on public buses and coaches, after they were also allowed to drive 80 kilometers per hour instead of 100. Since then, the seat belt requirement has also been in effect there. Anyone who has ever been on a bus knows that hardly anyone cares.

“We simply have no idea, literally and figuratively: the drivers themselves see very poorly whether people are wearing their seat belts. And there are no figures or signals yet, since our QLiners started driving at 2019 kilometers per hour on the highway in 100. Having the bus driver point out to every passenger that he or she must wear a seat belt when boarding is of course not feasible in practice. However, the seat belt requirement is described on the information screens in the bus, there are stickers that draw your attention to it, and you can of course also see the seat belts themselves. So you can't really miss it. But even then it is everyone's own responsibility to put on that belt. But whether that is actually done by every passenger on every ride, of course, remains the question, we simply don't know. Occasionally there are OV-BOAs on the bus that could keep an eye on it. But yes, if you see them getting in, you can quickly put on your seat belt of course …”

Sitting in a car or bus without a seat belt can not only result in a fine of 149 euros, it can also cost you your life or health. Director Frederik Lieben of personal injury agency JBL & G in Amsterdam: “When the seat belt requirement was introduced in the 60s, the Foundation for Road Safety Research already calculated that the risk of fatal injury in an accident when using a seat belt decreases by more than 30 percent, the risk of serious injury with at least XNUMX percent. People who are thrown from the car in an accident die three times as often as people who are kept strapped in the car by the seat belts.”

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In addition to death, serious injuries and a fine of 149 euros, not wearing a seat belt can have another adverse effect, Lieben warns: seat belt discount. “Sounds like an advantage, but it certainly isn't. Belt discount is applied by the insurer if it turns out that someone was not wearing a seat belt in an accident, and (partly because of this) was seriously or more seriously injured. Whoever was not wearing a belt is found partly guilty of his own injury, and then only a part of his possible compensation is paid. Usually it is about 25 percent that is deducted. Anyone who knowingly and willingly gets into the car with an obviously intoxicated driver and does not put on his seat belt, can count on a seat belt discount of up to 40 percent in the event of an accident.”

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Many coaches today are equipped with seat belts.