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Many Foreign Tourists Fail to Use Seat Belts

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Many Foreign Tourists Fail to Use Seat Belts

Car accident in South Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Icelandic Investigative Committee of Transportation Accidents (RNSA) is worried about limited seat belt use among foreign tourists and believes there is need for increased education in that area, RÚV reports. The committee investigated 16 fatal accidents which occurred in 2015, five of which involved the deaths of foreign tourists.

RNSA stated in one of its reports that funding for the building of roads, for winter service and maintenance of the road system in general has not kept up with the increased flow of tourists. More funding is needed for the Icelandic Transport Authority (Samgöngustofa) to educate foreign drivers.

About a third of tourists who come to Iceland rent a car, and according to forecasts from the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, the number of foreign tourists could reach 3 million three years from now. “For this reason, the road system must support increased strain year-round, and the time projects last can be expected to be shorter than planned at the time of construction, and the need for maintenance greater,” the committee wrote.

RNSA encourages authorities to increase funding for the maintenance of the road system, improved road signs, and for new road projects.

It furthermore points out that most foreign drivers lack experience driving in Icelandic conditions and need to be educated in that regard. The lack of seat belt use among foreign tourists is striking, as in recent years. The committee believes that stickers in rental cars, reminding people to use seat belts, must be larger and preferably visible to back seat passengers as well. “The use of seat belts in back seats is seriously lacking in accidents investigated by the RNSA involving foreign tourists,” the committee stated.

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