Seat Belt Use Under Voluntary and Mandatory Conditions and its Effect on Casualties

  • Murray Mackay


Seat belt usage rates in Britain in the decade prior to the introduction of a mandatory usage law in January 1983 are reviewed to show a stable rate of around 30% in the 1970s. Various risk compensation theories are mentioned briefly, and then some observational data collected in 1982 are analysed to show that certain vehicle characteristics, notably car age and type, have a significant relationship with occupant belt usage rates under voluntary conditions. Speed and belt usage rates do not appear to be related. The audience effect of passenger presence on belt usage rates is discussed.

Data on the first post-law period are presented showing general belt usage rates rising to some 90%. The mortality and morbidity figures for car occupants show a significant reduction of approximately 25% without any discernible influences on other road casualties. Some data on the reductions obtained in specific injuries are given and these findings are discussed.


Usage Rate Seat Belt Galvanic Skin Response Road User Audience Effect 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray Mackay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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