Some of the factors influencing the introduction of mandatory seatbelt use in Great Britain are outlined. The effectiveness of seatbelts is considered. Pre- and postlaw seatbelt use rates are described. The reductions in frontseat car occupant casualties following the introduction of the law are reported, and it is noted the actual reduction in fatalities is in line with the expected reduction.
The results of the time series analyses of all road accident casualties are presented. These analyses indicate, with the data currently available, the changes in the numbers of other road users injured and killed cannot be attributed to the effects of the seatbelt legislation but are in line with normal seasonal and annual fluctuations.
A brief review is made of studies relevant to the debate on risk compensation, and it is concluded that available evidence indicates that risk compensation probably does not occur when drivers are compelled to wear seatbelts.
Some preliminary results of a study examining changes in injury frequency following the mandatory seatbelt use law are presented. Data from current in-depth studies of accidents are used to describe patterns of injury to restrained occupants. Consideration is given to some of the factors associated with accidents in which restrained occupants are fatally injured, and it is shown that the main characteristic of such accidents is they are high-energy accidents with gross intrusion into the occupant's seating position.
Factors limiting seatbelt performance are discussed, and some possible future developments in occupant protection are described
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