Seatbelt and Mobile Phone Usage Survey Scotland, 2014
3. Seatbelt Survey Results
The 2014 seatbelt survey resulted in 5,720 eligible vehicles and 7,732 vehicle occupants being observed in Scotland.
- The proportion of car drivers observed using their seatbelt correctly in 2014 was 97.8%, an increase from the 95% wearing rate recorded in 2009.
- The seatbelt wearing rate amongst front seat car passengers in 2014 was 98.0%, a marginal increase on the 2009 figure (97%).
- There has been a notable increase in the proportion of rear seat car passengers observed wearing their seatbelt from 88% in 2009 to 99.0% in 2014. The usage rate amongst rear seat car passengers was 87.7% in England and 90.6% in Great Britain in 2014.
- Seatbelt compliance amongst occupants of 'Other vehicle' types (vans, lorries, buses, coaches and mini-buses) in 2014 was substantially lower, with wearing rates of 88.5% for drivers and 87.3% for front seat passengers.
- Seatbelt usage rates were very similar for car occupants of both genders.
- Rear seat passenger seatbelt use by both men and women has increased by 20 and 10 percentage points respectively since 2009.
The majority of the following results are based upon the data recorded during weekday observations, however where data were collected at weekends this is highlighted.
Car drivers and passengers in the seatbelt survey results includes occupants of private cars, taxis and private hire vehicles unless otherwise stated. The 'Other vehicle' category includes drivers of vans, lorries, buses, coaches and mini-buses, and passengers in vans and lorries. Front seat passengers includes a small number of occupants who were observed in the middle front seats of vehicles.
Please note, when referring to passengers, the seatbelt usage rate also includes the correct use of child restraints where children have been observed in the vehicle.
Where charts are used to present results, the corresponding tables can be found in Appendix A. These tables provide details of the data behind the charts and also an indication of the relevant sample sizes.
Figures relating to the wearing rates in England and across Great Britain have been provided by the Department for Transport and may be calculated in a different way from the figures for Scotland. Further information and comparisons are available in the DfT (2015) publication Seatbelt and Mobile Phone Usage Survey: 2014.
3.1 Overview of Observations
The 2014 seatbelt survey resulted in 5,720 eligible vehicles and 7,732 vehicle occupants being observed in Scotland. The majority of vehicles were cars excluding taxis and private hire vehicles (4629, 80.9% of total), whilst the majority of drivers (81.0%) and occupants (87.6%) were also found in cars excluding taxis and private hire vehicles.
Larger numbers of observations produce more reliable results when weighted, so it can be assumed that the seatbelt compliance estimate for car drivers is more accurate than that for drivers of other vehicles and all passengers.
Further information on the number of observations is provided in Table 3.1 below.
|Vehicle type||Driver||Front seat passenger||Rear seat passenger|
3.2 Overall Seatbelt Use
The proportion of drivers observed correctly using a seatbelt was 96.4%, as were 96.7% of front seat passengers and 99.0% of rear seat passengers.
As discussed, the most reliable figures are available for cars (and car drivers in particular) due to the large number of observations made. Combining private cars with taxis and private hire vehicles for the purposes of analysis found that 97.8% of these drivers were recorded as using a seatbelt, compared to 88.5% of drivers in other vehicles (vans, lorries and buses). The wearing rates were similar for drivers and front seat passengers across all vehicle categories, whilst passengers in the rear seats of cars were slightly more likely to be using a seatbelt than occupants in the front seats (see Table 3.2).
|Seat position||Vehicle type||Seatbelt use||Sample size|
|Front seat passenger||All vehicles||96.7%||1,555|
|Rear seat passenger||All vehicles||99.0%||472|
As car occupants account for the vast majority of individuals observed in the survey the results presented in the following sections largely focus on seatbelt usage rates in cars. This also allows comparisons to be drawn with the England and GB results for 2014 and the 2009 data for Scotland.
The 2014 results for Scotland show increased wearing rates for all car occupants compared to 2009, but most notably so for rear seat passengers (increasing from 88% in 2009 to 99.0% in 2014). There has also been around a 3 percentage point increase in wearing rates amongst drivers (see Figure 3.1).
The seatbelt wearing rates of drivers was similar in Scotland, England and Great Britain. However, the usage rate by passengers was found to differ, especially amongst rear seat occupants of whom 87.7% were observed using the correct restraint in England. As such, the wearing rate for rear seat passengers in Great Britain was 90.6% (see Table A.1 in Appendix A).
3.3 Seatbelt Use by Gender
Rear seat passenger seatbelt use by both men and women has increased significantly by 20 and 10 percentage points respectively so that there is now parity between the genders (see Table 3.3).
|Seat Position||Gender||Scotland 2009||Scotland 2014||
Scotland Sample size
|Front seat passenger||Male||96%||98.0%||439|
|Rear seat passenger||Male||79%||99.4%||182|
Seatbelt wearing rates of drivers and passengers in the front seats were also found to be similar across both genders in the latest survey due to a notable increase in usage rates by male drivers and front seat passengers.
3.4 Seatbelt Use by Age
Use was found to be consistently high (above 97.8%) for occupants in all seating positions (drivers, passengers in the front seats and rear seat passengers) across all age categories, except for child front seat passengers of whom only 94.3% were observed using the correct restraint appropriately (see Table 3.4).
|Seat Position||Age||Scotland 2009||Scotland 2014||
Scotland Sample size
|Front seat passenger||0-13||97%||94.3%||121|
|Rear seat passenger||0-13||-||98.6%||258|
This group was also the only category where wearing rates were found to have decreased from the level recorded in 2009, however the small sample size should be considered here. Encouragingly, there appears to have been a large increase in the wearing rate by adult passengers in the rear seats from 75% in 2009 to 99.3% in the current study, but once again the relatively smaller sample size for this group should be noted.
3.5 Seatbelt Use by Area and Road Type
Wearing rates by car drivers have increased on the 2009 levels for all road and area types, most significantly so in urban areas where drivers are now marginally more likely to be found using their seatbelts compared to rural areas in contrast to the previous study (see Table 3.5).
|Area type||Road type||Scotland 2009||Scotland 2014||2014 Scotland Sample size|
Seatbelt use was above 96% for front seat passengers for all categories of road and area, with a slightly lower wearing rate found on minor roads in urban areas (see Figure 3.2).
The number of observations of rear seat passengers broken down by road and area type results in fairly small sample sizes but there is an indication that seatbelt usage is generally high with all having wearing rates above 98% (see Table 3.6).
|Area type||Road type||Scotland 2014||2014 Scotland Sample size|
3.6 Seatbelt Use by Time of Day
Analysis of seatbelt use at different times of the day found that wearing rates were above 95% for all occupants throughout the day, with the exception of front seat passengers at 09:30 when around 94% were observed using the correct restraint (see Table A.5 in Appendix A).
Generally, the highest wearing rates over the course of the day were found amongst rear seat passengers but the small sample sizes for both front and rear seat passengers should be noted.
3.7 Seatbelt Use by Time of Week
A selected number of observation sites were also surveyed at the weekend too. At these sites similar levels of seatbelt use were found on weekdays and at weekends for car drivers and front seat passengers, however there was a notable decrease in the wearing rate amongst rear seat passengers from 100% to 95.2% (see Figure 3.4).
Again, it is worth noting that the sample sizes for rear seat passengers were significantly smaller than the other categories, and so the difference in wearing rates across different times of the week should be interpreted with caution.