Report numberRA-2004-44
TitleSeat belt user of drivers and passengers in the front
SubtitleAnalysis of seat belt countings in 2003 and 2004 in Antwerp
AuthorsErik Nuyts
Lara Vesentini
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages38
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Behaviour

In this study, we analysed the data on seat belt use as they were provided by the traffic police of Antwerp. Data were collected in April 2003 and April 2004. For every car in the dataset, both sex and seat belt use of both driver and front seat passenger (if a front seat passenger was present) are available. 


Seat belt use in Antwerp in 2004 increased compared to 2003 for all subgroups: male and female drivers, male and female front seat passengers, and drivers with and without front seat passengers.


The analysis of the data of 2004 supports all hypotheses based on the data of 2003, as they were formulated in the report of the Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety of Nuyts and Vesentini (2004), De relatie tussen de gordeldracht van autobestuurders en passagiers, Steunpuntrapport RA-2004-33. For the city of Antwerp, it was found that:

  1. Seat belt use of the driver is not correlated with presence or absence of a front seat passenger;
  2. Passenger and driver usually behave in the same manner (both wear or wear not the seat belt);
  3. Men wear the seat belt less often than women;
  4. If accompanied by women, male drivers wear more often the seat belt; if accompanied by men,  and male drivers wear less often the seat belt;
  5. There is no significant relationship between seat belt use of female drivers and presence or sex of their passengers;
  6. Male passengers use the seat belt less often when the accompanying a male driver;
  7. Percentage of seat belt use is comparable in the centre of the city with seat belt use on access roads towards the centre of the city;

The present study allows two conclusions concerning sensitisation campaigns.


Men are a target group for sensitisation campaigns. And this holds especially if two men are sitting in a car. At least in Antwerp, then both driver and passenger wear less often the seat belt.


In 2003, seat belt use was higher in the centre than on the access roads to the centre. This result was not found for 2004. Therefore, we think that the result is not caused by the difference between the roads. But in 2003, a sensitisation campaign for seat belt use was performed more intensively in the centre than on the access roads. This result suggests that the intensity of a campaign influences directly the seat belt use afterwards. Hence, if campaigns measurably improve seat belt use, it is worthwhile performing campaigns (assuming costs are not too high).

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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