Seatbelt deaths a serious problem

Buckle up and avoid distractions! It’s Road Safety Week and the theme this year is seat belts and distractions.

Safety Week is an annual community event and is being held from 7 to 13 May 2018. It helps to raise awareness of the carnage on New Zealand roads.

AA Research Foundation recently led a project in partnership with the Ministry of Transport, NZ Police, NZ Transport Agency and ACC to look at 200 deaths, where people weren’t buckled up. They also examined the offence history of people caught not wearing a seat belt.

One of the major findings of this study was that seat belt deaths are not restricted to just one group. Simon Douglas, AA Research Manager, said, “When we analysed the 200 deaths to understand the types of people involved, we found that along with the young, risky drivers that people might expect to feature; the other common groups were people in rural areas, people driving for work, the elderly and tourists.”

Simon said,“the AA sees solving the seat belt riddle as a vital part of reducing road deaths. Too often we see crashes where multiple people are in a car and the ones wearing seat belts only suffer bruises and scrapes, while someone who isn’t buckled up dies.”

This research is the first step in tackling the seat belt problem. Now there is a better understanding of the types of people involved, it should help better guide efforts to change people’s behaviour.
“It won’t be easy, but we need to all work together to find new ways of reaching people not wearing seat belts. We need to get them to buckle up every time they’re in a car,” said Simon.

Schools, playcentres, companies, emergency or road safety professionals and community groups can get involved in Road Safety Week and do their bit in raising awareness of the importance of wearing a seat belt and not being distracted. They can do this by running road safety activities or participating in the ‘Beep Beep! Day,’ the ‘Bright Day’ or the ‘Virtual Run.’ For more information visit

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