This study examines public compliance with seat belt regulations. Two busy suburbs in north Dublin were studied. Of the 2,139 vehicles surveyed 1,160 (54.2%) drivers wore a seat belt. Young female drivers were most likely to comply with the regulations (70.1%). Only 344 (46.1%) front seat passengers wore their seat belt. 188 children who appeared to be under 10 years of age were observed in the front seat of vehicles and of those just 9 babies were appropriately restrained. Of the back seat passengers 108 (19.2%) wore seat belts; 99 (21.8%) children and 9 (9.8%) adults. Despite on-going publicity and progression in the regulations our use of seat belts is grossly disappointing. Road traffic accidents exert an unacceptably high toll on health in Ireland. Seat belts are known to be effective in preventing serious injury. A much greater emphasis on enforcement of legislation is now urgently needed to encourage responsible behaviour among vehicle users and to reduce the needless suffering due to road traffic accidents.