1 in 3 don’t wear seatbelts

New research has found that people in rural areas, driving for work and the elderly were some of the surprising groups found to be dying in road crashes when not wearing seatbelts.

The AA Research Foundation led a project in partnership with the Ministry of Transport, NZ Police, NZ Transport Agency and ACC to look in depth at 200 deaths where people were not buckled up, and also examine the offence history of people caught not wearing a seatbelt.

One of the major findings was that seatbelt deaths are not restricted to just one group.

“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,” says AA Research Manager Simon Douglas.

“The vast majority of people wear their seatbelt, yet up to 30 per cent of vehicle occupant deaths in recent years haven’t been buckled up. The research aimed to build a much greater understanding of who it was being involved in these crashes.”

Other key findings were:

  • On average over the last decade, 26 per cent of vehicle occupants who died in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt
  • 83.5 per cent of deaths where someone wasn’t wearing a seatbelt occurred on rural roads
  • 53.5 per cent of unrestrained deaths involved alcohol
  • 36.5 per cent of unrestrained deaths involved fatigue
  • 58 per cent of people caught by police not wearing a seatbelt have at least one previous seatbelt offence

The full research report is available online here

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