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Seat Belts

Volume 20: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the reply by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport to the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner) on 10 March, Official Report, c. 827, about the compulsory wearing of seat belts, whether he expects the relative propensity to accidents of wearers compared with non-wearers to have a positive or negative effect on the casualty rate.

The only information available about seat belt wearing in road accidents relates to casualties. Consequently, there is no direct evidence on the accident involvement rates of wearers and non-wearers. But fatal and serious casualty rates for wearers are half those of non-wearers, and part of the explanation for this is likely to be the physical protection provided by a seat belt in an accident. It may also be that non-wearers have higher accident involvement rates and, if this is so, it would reduce the effect of compulsory seat belt wearing on overall casualty rates.