Report numberRA-2004-33
TitleThe relationship between seat belt use of passenger and driver
SubtitleAnalysis of seat belt countings in Antwerp
AuthorsErik Nuyts
Lara Vesentini
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages29
Document languageDutch
Work packageOther: Behaviour

In this study seat belt observations, conducted in April 2003 by the traffic police of Antwerp, were further analysed. As far as we know, it is the first time in Flanders that the sex as well as the seat belt use of both the driver and the passenger is registered at the same moment.


A logistic regression model is used to analyze the relation between seat belt use and the position taken by the occupants (driver or passenger), sex of the driver and passenger, time of day and location of driving.


The study found that men use their seat belt less often than women. In the weekend drivers wore their seat belt less often and passengers more often.


The analysis showed that drivers with passengers do not wear the seat belt more nor less than drivers without passengers. However, drivers and passengers often act the same. They both wear or do not wear a seat belt. Besides that, we found that seat belt use of a male driver is dependent of the sex of the passenger. When a male driver is accompanied by a female passenger he wears the seat belt more. When he is accompanied by a male passenger he wears the seat belt less often. Female drivers are not influenced by the sex of their passenger nor their presence. Male passengers wear the seat belt less often if they are sitting next to a male driver. The data collected do not allow giving a causal explanation for the above mentioned results, but probably social influence plays an important role.


The conclusion, on the base of this study, is that men are a target group for sensitization campaigns, especially if two men are sitting in a car. This conclusion should be weakened, because it is not possible to extrapolate the results of Antwerp for Flanders. Since it is the first time that this combination of variables (sex as well as the seat belt use of both the driver and the passenger) are registered, we strongly recommend expanding this research for a larger area, so recommendations can be made for Flemish campaigns.

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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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