Research has shown that the probability of an individual dying or being severely injured in a car crash when not wearing a seatbelt is twice that of an individual who is properly restrained using a seatbelt. Correct usage of a seatbelt can decrease the risk of dying in a vehicle crash by more than 60%, yet the rate of seatbelt-wearing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is dangerously low. This is especially concerning as LMICs experience 90% of all road traffic fatalities. What’s more, the largest proportion of global deaths from road traffic injuries can be found in middle-income countries (MICs). And while four-wheeled vehicle use increases in MICs yearly, seatbelt-wearing rates have not kept pace.

Recently, JH-IIRU team members, as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, examined seatbelt wearing rates in four middle-income countries, Egypt, Mexico, Russia and Turkey.

The JH-IIRU team, which included research assistant Andres Vecino-Ortiz, and technical advisor David Bishai, associate director Abdulgafoor Bachani, director, Adnan Hyder, as well as core faculty members Shivam Gupta and Kavi Bhalla, and affiliated members, Aruna Chandran and Ekaterina Slyunkina, examined the prevalence of seatbelt use and associated factors in drivers and front-seat passengers across eight sites within the four countries. The team also established a baseline measurement for future assessments.

Among their results, the team found that the variance of seatbelt use among drivers and front seat passengers may be caused by differences in law enforcement across sites, suggesting that legislation alone is not sufficient to increase seatbelt usage, but rather focus should turn to enforcement as well.

To read all their results, click here.

“Seatbelt wearing rates in middle-income countries: A cross-country analysis,” was published in Accident Analysis and Prevention