While the vast majority of car users wear seat belts when travelling, figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) suggest that at least one in 10 rear seat passengers fail to use them.
The RSA is calling on everyone who travels by car to always wear a seat belt. It has just launched a new advertising campaign, which is aimed at improving seat belt compliance, particularly among rear seat passengers.
"Failing to put on your seat belt doesn't just increase the likelihood that you will be killed in the event of a collision, but also may make you into a killer.
"Not being restrained in the rear seat of a car means that in the event of a collision, you will be thrown around the vehicle at extremely high force, doing serious injury both to yourself and potentially also to others in the car. So not wearing a seat belt isn't just dangerous, but selfish too,'' explained RSA chief executive, Moyagh Murdock.
The most recent observational study of seat belt wearing rates found that while 94% of drivers and front seat passengers wore seat belts, this figure fell to 89% among rear seat passengers.
To assess the impact of wearing a seat belts, the RSA carried out an analysis of almost 900 fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012. It revealed that among rear seat passengers not wearing a seat belt, 45% were killed and 55% survived. Among rear seat passengers who had been wearing a seat belt, 22% were killed and 78% survived.
Among drivers, 51% of those wearing a seat belt survived, while just 17% of those who were not wearing a seat belt survived.
Among front passengers wearing a seat belt, 69% survived, while among front passengers who were not wearing one, just 29% survived.
Meanwhile, an analysis of 2016 data revealed that among all drivers and passengers killed who were known not to be wearing seat belts, 46% were aged between 16 and 25.
As part of this new campaign to encourage the use of seat belts on every journey, the RSA carried out research into the usage and attitudes of people under the age of 35. It found that the main reason for not using one was simply forgetting to put it on.
However, the majority of people under the age of 35 said they would put one on if their friend asked them to do so. The RSA is reminding drivers that they have the power and authority to tell anyone travelling with them that they have to use a seat belt.
The RSA advertising campaign will run on television and in cinemas. The full ad can be viewed here.
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