It was announced on 31 January 1983 that British drivers and front seat passengers must wear seatbelts under a new law which came into force at midnight. The Department of Transport said 30,000 people a year are killed or seriously injured in road accidents. It hopes the compulsory wearing of front seatbelts will save 1,000 lives a year. The row over making front seatbelts compulsory had been going on for 15 years and there had been 11 previous attempts to make it law. In 1991 it became compulsory for adults to belt up in the back seat.