Research Article

Promoting the use of seat belts. Wessex Positive Health Team.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 29 November 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:1447


A six-month study into the effect of a substantial programme of integrated health education promoting the use of seat belts showed no major change in the rates for occupants of front seats, which remained around 35%. Though there were increases of up to 5% in the rates for wearing seat belts immediately after the multimedia campaigns which achieved high penetration, only those among women drivers were sustained. Of the methods used to disseminate information, television had the greatest impact on the community, followed by press reports and radio broadcasts. It is concluded that health education alone is insufficient to increase significantly the use of car seat belts. Britain should follow its European partners and pass legislation requiring front seat occupants to wear belts. As the recent experience in Australia shows, the benefits will be considerable in terms of reducing mortality, morbidity, and consequential expenditure.