Belfast Telegraph

Five percent of back seat passengers don’t belt up

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Figures from the Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing published today show that overall wearing rates in 2013 remain high at 98%. 

In 2013, 98% of drivers were belted up compared to 97% of passengers.

It remains that back seat wearing rates are lower (95%) than that of both drivers and front seat passengers (98%). Whilst this is a major improvement from 1994 when only around one in two back street passengers were properly restrained, the wearing rate for this group has not changed over the last two years. 

In 2013, 4% of children aged 10-13, 5% of those aged 5-9, 3% of those aged 1-4 and one child aged under one year were unrestrained when travelling in the back of a car which is similar to the rates reported last year. 

Survey data were collected during April 2013 at 12 sites throughout Northern Ireland covering urban, rural and motorway locations. Fieldwork involved observing stationary traffic and recording details including gender, estimated age and whether a seat belt or child restraint was being used. In total 13,293 cars were observed and details of 19,792 occupants recorded.

The key points to note from the survey are:

Wearing rates in cars

· 98% of all car occupants observed used a restraint in 2013 compared to 96% in 2009. Over the last three years, the wearing rates have remained constant for all car occupants. 

· Drivers in 2013 were more likely to be restrained (98%) than passengers (97%). 

· 98% of drivers wore a restraint in 2013, up 1% from the 2009 level of 97%. This series has been constant for the last four years.

· 98% of front seat passengers wore a restraint in 2013, up 2% from the 2009 level of 96%. There has been no change over the last year in front seat passenger wearing rates. 

· 95% of back seat passengers wore a restraint in 2013, similar to the 2012 rate and up from 93% in 2009.

· 98% of male and 99% female drivers were restrained in 2013. The level of males drivers wearing a restraint has not changed since 2011 whereas female drivers increased by 1% from 2012.

· 97% of male and 98% of female front seat passengers were restrained in 2013. Male front seat restraint wearing rates have increased by four percentage points over the last five years; females have increased by 1% over the same period. 

· In 2013, 4% of children aged 10-13, 5% of those aged 5-9, 3% of those aged 1-4 and 1% of those under one year were unrestrained when travelling in the back of a car. Restraint wearing rates for these groups have been fairly constant over the last three years.

· 99% of drivers on rural roads were restrained compared to 98% of drivers on urban roads in 2013; there was no change over the year.

· 1% of drivers in 2013 were observed using a mobile phone which is the same as reported for 2012.

Wearing rates in vans and taxis

· 89% of van drivers in 2013 were restrained, 3% higher than the 2012 rate and an increase of 15 percentage points from 2007 when wearing rates van drivers were first collected.

· 84% of taxi drivers in 2013 were restrained, similar to last year’s rate yet still an improvement of 17 percentage points since 2007 when this group were first included in the survey.

Notes to editors:

1. The Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing 2013 is the latest in a research series into restraint wearing rates amongst drivers and passengers in Northern Ireland. It is commissioned by the Department of the Environment and has been carried out since 1994.

2. From 1994 to 2006, and again in 2001, the survey was conducted biannually. However, since 1997 (with the exception of 2001) the survey has been conducted on an annual basis in April of each year.

3. Fieldwork involves observing stationary traffic and recording details such as gender, estimated age and whether a restraint was being used for any car occupants.

4. Recording took place in eight half hour sessions between 08:30 and 17:00 on Tuesday 23 and Saturday 27 April 2013. 

5. Mobile phone usage amongst drivers is also observed in the survey.

6. The results presented in this report are based on sample survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error. However, any statements in this report regarding differences between groups, such as drivers and back seat passengers, are statistically significant at the 95% significance level. This significance level is the standard criterion for judging whether differences between groups might have arisen by chance. It can be interpreted as the threshold above which there is only a one in twenty probability that an observed difference might have arisen by chance factors alone.

7. Following a review of the survey methodology in 2011, three of the original 15 survey sites were removed from 2012 onwards to allow for the inclusion of three new pilot sites each year, selected to test the representativeness of the overall survey estimates. Survey data were collected at 12 sites throughout Northern Ireland in 2013; covering rural, urban and motorway locations. Note that the pilot sites to inform future survey methodology have not been included in the overall survey results. Further information can be found in the user guidance section of the publication. In addition from 2012 the survey has reclassified the survey sites as urban or rural according to the official NISRA urban-rural definition (2005).

8. Electronic and hard copies of this bulletin and the full Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing 2013 report are available from:

Analytical Services Branch, 
Room 4-10, 
Clarence Court, 
10 - 18 Adelaide Street,
Town Parks, 
Belfast, BT2 8GB

Tel: (028) 9054 0390 
E-mail: mailto:asb@doeni.gov.uk
Web: http://www.doeni.gov.uk/index/information/asb.htm

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