A new government advertising campaign aimed at promoting seatbelt use is being launched this week.
The commercial will air to the general public at 9.10pm tomorrow, following an 11am invite-only première at the Belfast Movie House due to be attended by the Environment Minister and schoolchildren aged 16 and over.
The Department of the Environment (DoE) safety campaign will include TV commercials and cinema adverts, as well as radio broadcasts and posters.
The campaign will run for approximately 10 years.
It cost £400,000 to develop, and poses this question to those who travel unbuckled: “Who are you prepared to kill?”
In a clip sent to the News Letter, the commercial begins with shots of happy passengers in their respective vehicles, with a voiceover saying: “If you forget to wear your seatbelt just the once, ask yourself: who are you prepared to kill?
“Family? Friend? Someone special you love?”
It shows passengers – a child in the back seat, a young woman preparing for a night out, and friends sharing a carton of chips – unbuckling their seatbelts to lean across the car.
Then disaster strikes as a crash takes place.
The advert particularly targets those sitting in the back of vehicles, with the DoE claiming they are less likely to wear their seatbelts.
In a statement announcing the move, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “We in Northern Ireland are doing the right thing – we are setting the standard when it comes to rear seatbelt wearing.
“We are second not only in Europe, but in the world, at 95 per cent, just behind Germany’s rear seatbelt wearing rates at 97 per cent
“And many people are alive today because of this simple action, which has practically become second nature to us.”
However, the DoE said statistics show that seven deaths were attributable to not wearing a seatbelt last year, and 36 suffered serious injuries as a result.
“Inevitably, there are going to be lapses,” added the minister.
“Particularly among young people; with, all too often, passengers ‘forgetting’ to put their belt on, or removing it briefly to stay involved in the conversation or activity going on in the car.”
After tomorrow, the commercial can be viewed by going to: www.nidirect.gov.uk/once.