Results of 2008 Seatbelt Survey Revealed

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RSA report shows overall improvement in wearing rates but rear seatbelt use gives cause for concern

On the eve of the August bank holiday weekend, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has today, Thursday 30th July, published the results of its Annual National Seatbelt Survey 2008. The survey, conducted in 2008 among 16,999 adults and 4,316 primary and secondary schoolchildren across the country, has revealed the following:

At 89%, overall seatbelt wearing rates for adults (drivers, front and rear passengers) are the highest ever recorded;
However, rear seatbelt wearing rates for adults in 2008 have fallen by 6% to 78% since 2007;

Rear seatbelt wearing rates for primary and secondary schoolchildren have increased by 4% and 9% respectively on 2007 figures.

The survey also reveals that 90% of drivers are now wearing their seatbelts, representing an increase of 2% on the 2007 figures and an increase of 35% on wearing rates recorded ten years ago in 1999. Female drivers were found to be two times more likely to wear their seatbelts when compared to male drivers.

Despite the overall increase in wearing rates for adults, rear seatbelt use has decreased significantly from 84% in 2007 to 78% in 2008. In addition, female passengers were found to be more likely than male passengers to belt up in the back of the car, with wearing rates of 83% and 71% respectively. The survey also shows that front seat passengers are 2.3 times more likely to wear their seatbelt when compared with rear seat passengers.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, RSA said: “While it’s encouraging to see adult front seatbelt use increasing and more schoolchildren buckling up, it really is cause for concern when adults continue to sit in the back seat of a car, unbelted. In 2007, 18% of all back seat passengers killed were not wearing their seatbelts. It really does not get much clearer than that.”

“2 out of 3 people will survive a crash if they’re belted up yet every day, people put their lives at risk by getting into a car and not wearing their seatbelt. This is about making choices, not about making excuses. You can make the choice to be responsible and ensure everyone, including you, is wearing their seatbelt or you can choose to be a risk-taker, and risk killing yourself or your loved ones. Last year, 4 people were killed and 10 people were seriously injured over the August bank holiday weekend. For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, don’t make excuses. Make the right choice and wear your seatbelt at all times.”

Minister for Transport, Mr Noel Demspey T.D. echoed Mr Brett’s comments: “Wearing seatbelts saves lives. That’s a fact. It reassuring to see that most people have got that message but a persistent few just aren’t listening. That killer behaviour has to change. This bank holiday weekend I urge the thousands of people taking to our roads to make a special effort to buckle up, slow down and never drink and drive. This will save lives – maybe even your own. The alternative is a risk just not worth taking.”
Assistant Commissioner, Eddie Rock, An Garda Síochána said, “This weekend An Garda Síochána will be mounting operations across the country to save lives, concentrating on Speeding, Drink Driving, Dangerous Driving and the Non-compliance of Seat Belt wearing, particularly by those in the passenger seats, so be sensible and do your part to reduce the carnage on our roads this weekend.”

The seatbelt report also found that the number of males wearing their seatbelts in the front of the car has decreased by 2% to 87% in 2008. Similarly, drivers were found to be less likely to wear their seatbelt when travelling on rural, regional and county roads, despite most fatal and serious injury collisions occurring on these roads.

Primary and Secondary School Rates

The seatbelt survey of primary and secondary school-goers showed improvements in wearing rates for both groups.

At 74%, rear seatbelt use for primary school pupils showed an increase of 4% on wearing rates in 2007.
Secondary school students showed a more dramatic increase with a 72% wearing rate recorded for rear seatbelts, up 9% on 2007 (63%).

Front seatbelt wearing rates have also increased for schoolchildren with an 86% wearing rate recorded for primary schoolchildren (up 6% on 2007), and an 87% wearing rate for secondary school students, up 9% on 2007 wearing rates.
“It is great to see the majority of parents taking responsibility for their child’s safety in the car and making them buckle up. But it is equally encouraging to see young people heeding the message and taking responsibility for their own safety and putting ‘pester power’ to good use. So our message to all parents, grandparents, guardians and children is to buckle up, never travel in a car without putting on your seatbelt and make sure everyone else follows your good example,” Mr Brett said.

Drivers face up to 4 penalty points and a fine of up to €800 if convicted in court if they fail to wear a seatbelt and fail to ensure passengers under 17 are adequately restrained. Any passengers aged 17 and over, detected for not wearing a seatbelt, will be liable to an on the spot fine of €25.

As of 30th June 2009 a total of 55,393 penalty points notices have been issued to drivers for failure to wear seatbelts. In addition a total of 7,117 notices have been issued to drivers for failing to ensure children are adequately restrained.

Click on the following link to download The Annual National Seatbelt Survey 2008:
http://www.rsa.ie/publication/publication/upload/SeatbeltSurvey09.pdf