Police and road safety experts in Western Australia have urged all drivers and passengers who don’t wear seat belts to stop gambling with their lives.

The message comes after it was revealed five people not wearing seat belts died in road crashes last year and would have likely survived had they been wearing one.

“Our message is blunt,” said Great Southern Police District Superintendent Ian Clarke. “A person failing to wear a seat belt will be thrown around in a vehicle and will either die or sustain substantially worse injuries.”

Supt Clarke said higher speeds in regional areas significantly increased the impact and outcome of a crash.

There were 588 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in Western Australia between 2014 and 2018, 135 – or 23 percent – were not wearing seat belts. And 104 of those killed not wearing seat belts were involved in crashes in regional areas.

“A seatbelt may give you a second chance in a road crash; don’t gamble with your life,” added Supt Clarke.