This paper discusses two contrary points of view regarding the effectiveness of compulsory seat belt legislation. One point of view asserts that a comparison of national road accident death statistics suggests that seat belt legislation has failed. The main evidence for this position is an analysis of road deaths in 17 countries--which between them contain 80% of the world's cars. The countries were divided into two groups--the four that do not have compulsory belt law, and the 13 that introduced laws during the 1970's. An index of road deaths was then calculated, and it was found that, between 1972 and 1978, the index for countries with seat-belt laws fell by 17 percent while in those without laws it fell by 25 percent. Only Norway appears to support the argument for legislation. In Germany, road deaths during the first year of legislation remained at the level of the previous year. In New Zealand, road deaths jumped 16 points during the first year of the law's enactment; while for the same year in the countries without laws, the index fell by five points. Proponents of compulsory belt use laws cited three criticisms of the study: that the choice of countries was selective, that a more thorough study would show the benefits of seat belts, and that accident-prone drivers frequently ignore seat-belt laws. The main argument for a law is the result of legislation in Australia, which experienced a steady rise in road accidents during the 1960's until a compulsory use law was enacted in 1970.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    IPC Magazine Limited

    King's Reach Tower, Stamford Street
    London SE1 9LS,   England 
  • Authors:
    • HAMER, M
  • Publication Date: 1981-2-19

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 461
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 89
    • Issue Number: 1241
    • ISSN: 0262-4079

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00331367
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1981 12:00AM