Seat belt utilization in Saudi Arabia and its impact on road accident injuries

Accid Anal Prev. 2005 Mar;37(2):367-71. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2004.10.007.


Most industrialized countries and many developing countries have passed laws that require the use of seat belts in motor vehicles. It is widely believed that seat belt use is an effective way to reduce road accident fatalities and injuries. Saudi Arabia joined these countries when it enacted a similar law on 5 December 2000 making seat belt use compulsory for all drivers and front-seat passengers. This study measures seat belt use rate and its impact on the number of road accident injuries during the first few months that followed the enactment of the law. It also investigates drivers' behaviour and personal characteristics and their relationship with using seat belts by using a questionnaire specially prepared for this purpose. Results show that seat belt use rate in two Riyadh suburbs were 33% and 87%, respectively, for drivers and 4% and 41%, respectively, for front-seat passengers (FSP's). Such belt use rates are considered low yet encouraging when compared with use rates before enacting the law. Results also show that there was a significant drop in certain types of injuries due to traffic accidents after the enactment of the seat belt law. Questionnaire results show that certain personal characteristics were correlated with seat belt use rate. Finally, implications of these findings in terms of future plans for improving traffic safety are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Seat Belts / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control