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A review of seat belt advertising

23 April 2018

The UK's 1966 legislation made it compulsory for all new cars to have seatbelt fittings. This simple change has revolutionised the way that drivers and passengers look after their own safety when driving. 

The style of THINK! seatbelt advertisements has changed over the years, but the message remains the same, wear a seatbelt. A montage of the government’s seatbelt advertisements is available on the THINK! website.

Road Safety News published by Road Safety GB also takes a look at how seat-belt advertising has changed over the last half century .

The Road Safety Observatory indicates that:

  1. In Great Britain, almost all (95%) car drivers and front seat passengers wear seat belts, and 89% of rear passengers wear seat belts or use child car restraints. However, seat belt use is lower in other vehicles, where only 69% of drivers and front seat passengers wear seat belts. Adult males are less likely than females to wear seatbelts in all seating positions.
  2. Promoting the positive benefits of seatbelt use is likely to be more effective than focusing on the negative risks of not wearing a seatbelt. Non-users need to develop habit-forming strategies to encourage resilient seatbelt wearing.
  3. Highly visible seatbelt law enforcement results in an increased perceived risk of being subject to a penalty such as a fine or points on a driving licence and helps to promote improved seatbelt wearing rates.
  4. Seat belt reminder (SBR) systems can significantly increase seat belt wearing rates. A cross European study found that wearing rates were 97.5% in vehicles fitted with SBR and 85.5% in vehicles without. A study in the USA found that there were 2% fewer driver fatalities in vehicles fitted with SBR, after accounting for differences in vehicle age between cars with and without SBR.

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