An annual survey into seatbelt wearing in Northern Ireland has revealed that 5% of children travelling in the back of a car were not restrained.
The Northern Ireland Survey of Seat Belt Wearing 2014 shows that 7% of children aged 5-9 years, 4% of those aged 1-4 years, and 3% of those aged 10-13 years were unrestrained when travelling in the back of a car.
Back seat wearing rates remain higher for children than for adults with 8% of adults observed travelling in the back unrestrained.
Survey data were collected during April 2014 at 12 sites throughout Northern Ireland covering urban, rural and motorway locations. In total 13,584 cars were observed and details of 20,438 occupants recorded.
The wearing rate for back seat passengers continues to be lower (94%) than that of both drivers and front seat passengers (98%). The Department for the Environment Northern Ireland (DOENI) says that while this is “a major improvement from 1994 when only around one in two back street passengers were properly restrained, the wearing rate for this group has not significantly changed over the last three years”.
Wearing rates have remained constant for all car occupants for the past four years, but have increased by 7% – from 91% to 98% – since 2005.
89% of van drivers in 2014 were restrained, which was the same as the rate reported in 2013 and an increase of 15% from 2007 when wearing rates of van drivers were first collected. 86% of taxi drivers in 2014 were restrained, 19% higher than 2007 when this group was first included in the survey.
The survey also records mobile phone use, and 1% of drivers in 2014 were observed using a mobile phone which is the same as reported for 2013 and 2012.