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+ COMMENT: Time to belt up

A series of air turbulence incidents in very recent weeks has focused on the fact that it is not compulsory for travellers to wear safety seat belts on commercial flights for the whole journey.

Let’s go back to January 1983 when a law was introduced in Britain requiring all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear their seat belts. There were the usual mumblings from some so-called experts saying that heavy braking might cause shoulder damage due to the restraint and problems extracting occupants in accident cases, but sense prevailed.  The law changed again in 1989, making it a legal requirement for children travelling in the back of cars to also wear seat belts. Australia had already led. In 1973 the use of fitted seat belts by vehicle occupants was made compulsory throughout the Dominion.  Here in the UK we now take it for granted although it is not a requirement on public transport.

During the air travel pre-flight safety drill it is normally the case to include a recommendation to wear a safety belt at all times.

There is no international organisation totally responsible for air safety. Each country sets its own standards. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a membership club for certain airlines, but certainly not all.  It can make endorsements.   

TNU suggests that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, urgently issues a statement demanding that seat belts be worn at all times, and that movement within the cabin only be allowed when the safety sign is switched off and that only for ‘comfort’ reasons.

It is time to belt up for all.  Clear air turbulence is sometimes a virtually undetectable occurrence when in flight, or with very little warning for the operating crew.  “Safety” is a vital word when it comes to air travel.  All aspects of air travel must be covered!  The travelling public will quickly get used to the new rules and take them for granted.



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Jill Smith, Elstree

Well said Mr Ginsberg. It needs to happen. We put on seat belts and stopped smoking on any form of public transport including aircraft. Ginsberg's Law is a bit too much!

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