This article reviews evidence which shows that the use of rear seat belts reduces severe injuries and fatalities in road accidents, and suggests ways of increasing their use by children. Evidence is taken from a variety of sources. Use of rear seat belts, especially by adults, is found to be infrequent, even though the pattern of injuries sustained in crashes is influenced more by the use of seat belts than by seating position. Most of the injuries caused to those in rear seats are due to changes in velocity rather than vehicle intrusion. Unbelted rear seat passengers have more numerous and more severe injuries than those who are restrained in the front seat and they are twice as likely to require hospitalization. Some two fifths of those who occupy rear seats are children, and surveys carried out in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand indicate that there is widespread public support for legislation which makes the use of rear seat belts by children compulsory. Such legislation should cater for the various requirements of each age of child, from babies to young teenagers. Car hire companies should also be required to provide a comprehensive range of restraint systems for all ages, and more child restraint leasing schemes should be established. (TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    British Medical Association

    BMA House, Tavistock Square
    London WC1H 9JR,   United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • Yates, D
  • Publication Date: 1989-8-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 341-342
  • Serial:
    • BMJ
    • Volume: 299
    • Issue Number: 6695
    • Publisher: British Medical Association
    • ISSN: 0959-8138
    • Serial URL:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00499367
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1990 12:00AM