1 in 4 women admit wearing their seat belt incorrectly*Seatbelts 25.03.2022
- 26% of women admit to having worn their seat belt under their arm rather than on their shoulder
- 32% of women say female friends have worn seat belt under their arm at least sometimes.
- Road Safety Campaign Warns - Don’t “Get This Season’s Killer Look”
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are appealing to women to ensure that they are wearing their seat belts correctly when driving or as a passenger in a vehicle.
Research* carried out by independent research company Behaviour & Attitudes for the RSA, found that 26% of women admitted to previously having worn the shoulder strap of their seat belt under their arm rather than on their shoulder. 11% of those surveyed who wear their seat belt under arm do so always or often. 32% indicate that their female friends wear their seat belt under their arm at least sometimes.
Placing the shoulder strap of the seat belt under your arm leaves your upper torso – including your neck, face and head – completely unrestrained during a collision. In such a situation you would be exposed to horrific injury.
The research showed that the main reasons for putting the seat belt under the arm were to relieve neck irritation.
If you are wearing your seat belt incorrectly it will provide little or no protection in the event of a crash. Whether for comfort or vanity, nothing is worth putting yourself at risk of serious or fatal injury. The message to everyone is to always wear your seat belt and wear it correctly. The belt should be worn diagonally across the wearer’s chest on their shoulder and never under the arm. If it feels uncomfortable, adjust the height of the belt on the anchor point on the door frame or adjust the seat position and height.
The survey found that almost 1 in 4 were surprised that how you wear your seat belt is as important as whether you wear a seat belt or not. Over 1 in 5 were surprised that vehicle occupants risk serious injury by putting their seat belt under their arm. 41% of respondents said they were surprised to learn that 1 in 4 car occupants killed on Irish roads in the past year were not wearing seat belts.
The RSA is running its online campaign “This Season’s Killer Look” in a bid to reach young women. It will be fronted by a 30 second public service message that will be deployed on ‘Video On Demand’ (VOD) platforms. The ad is centred on a young model, posing for a fashion shoot in a glamorous car. As the shoot progresses, the model puts on her seat belt and places the belt under her arm. Suddenly, the model is thrown violently forward and the scene switches to an eerie x-ray world where we see clearly the devastating injuries sustained in a collision. When we switch back to reality, we see the model is wearing a neck and body brace and has scaring on her face.
Lifelong injuries now replace her glamorous look. The campaign slogan invites viewers not to get - ‘This Season’s Killer Look’ – by never wearing a seat belt under the arm. The RSA sought the input of Gerry Lane, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Letterkenny General Hospital, Donegal in developing the campaign.
Ireland’s fifth government Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by 50% over the next 10 years. This means reducing deaths on Ireland’s roads annually from 144 to 72 or lower and reducing serious injuries from 1,259 to 630 or lower by 2030. Some of the actions contained in the Road Safety Strategy to tackle non-seat belt use include.
- Continued concentration on the enforcement of key lifesaver offences such as…non-wearing of seat belts.
- Review the penalties for serious road traffic offences including…. non-wearing of seat belts, carrying unrestrained children in a vehicle.
- Implement public education/awareness campaigns which target the main causal factors for deaths and serious injuries.
The strategy is the first step in achieving the 2020 Programme for Government commitment of bringing Ireland to ‘Vision Zero’. This is to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads by the year 2050.
*Misuse of Seatbelts Among Females, Sample of 312 women aged 17-34 Years, online survey conducted in February 2022
Results for the Misuse of Seatbelts "Killer Look" Benchmark Survey include:
- 32% indicate their female friend group put the shoulder strap of a seatbelt under their arm whether as the driver or front/ rear passenger at least sometimes.
- Only 5% consider it safe for a driver or passenger to place the shoulder strap of a seatbelt under their arm.
- 36% have ever been in a car where someone has asked a passenger or driver to place the shoulder strap of the seatbelt up on their shoulder (instead of keeping it under their arm)
- 24% are surprised that how you wear your seat belt can be as important as whether you wear your seat belt or not.
- 93% of drivers, 91% of front passengers, and 83% of rear passengers reported always wearing their seatbelt in this recent survey.
Injuries to body following improper seatbelt use.
Head: Collision with windscreen can result in severe facial scarring, and in some cases blindness, brain injury, neck spinal injury.
Mouth: Impact with the steering column or dashboard of a vehicle can cause severe damage to teeth, leading to victims needing extensive dental repair. May knock teeth down throat, shatter jaw, block airway.
Neck: Being thrown violently forward in a collision can cause serious injury to the neck and head, and may require surgical repair. May result in paralysis and/or partial or total paralysis.
Torso: Spinal damage caused by impact requires the wearing of a full-body cast (not always, only in "minor cases"), and may result in partial or total paralysis, life changing injuries.
Abdomen: Internal lacerations caused by improper seatbelt use can require extensive surgical repair, and may involve the victim requiring a colostomy bag for life.
Arm: Extreme fractures may need to be surgically repaired with metal rods and pins.
Leg: Extreme fractures may need to be surgically repaired with metal rods and pins.
Source: Gerry Lane, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Letterkenny General Hospital, Donegal