An observational study of car occupant restraint in Fife: impact of recent legislation

Public Health. 1993 Nov;107(6):429-35. doi: 10.1016/s0033-3506(05)80168-4.


During August 1992 an observational study of car occupant restraint use was carried out at 14 sites throughout Fife (representing traffic-signal-controlled junctions in rural and non-rural sites and observations made outside primary schools). This study replicated another completed in April 1991 before the most recent legislation on rear seat restraints. The overall restraint use found at the traffic signal sites (excluding taxis) was 87% (drivers 94%, front seat passengers 93% and rear seat passengers 59%). There was lower restraint use (68%) in cars taking children to and from primary schools (drivers 87%, front seat passengers 77% and rear seat passengers 50%). Passengers seated in rear centre seats were least likely to be restrained (40%) especially where they were an older child or adult (only 14% of this latter group being restrained). Restraint use in taxi cabs was low (drivers 11%, passengers 41%). Since rear seat legislation was introduced in July 1991 there has been a 77% increase in rear seat restraint use, especially in older children and adults (233% increase) and in 1-4-year-old children (119% increase); it is likely that these improvements are largely as a result of the legislation. However, approximately 40% of rear seat passengers still travel without rear seat belt restraint. There is therefore a continuing need to emphasise both public education and the enforcement of current legislation. Educational measures should be targeted at groups known to be low users such as drivers and passengers in taxis, children carried on school 'delivery trips' and adults in rear seats.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Scotland
  • Seat Belts / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors