In this survey, we explored the attitudes of drivers to seat belts. We sought to determine if they belt up on every journey, and if they understand how seat belts help protect against death and injury in a road crash. We also asked their views about head restraints, air bags and child seats.

We surveyed 2,016 car drivers about seat belts and other passive safety systems to prevent injury in a road crash. The survey was carried out in February 2024 by independent market research company, SurveyGoo.

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Key findings:

  • 97% of drivers agree that wearing a seat belt (or using a child seat) should be enforced for all drivers and passengers.
  • A fifth (21%) of those surveyed said they don’t always wear a seat belt when a passenger in a taxi, even though it is a legal requirement to wear one if available.
  • 15% of drivers don’t always check that child passengers are in a correctly sized and fitted child seat or wearing a seat belt.

Seat belts are one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect ourselves when travelling by car, yet many drivers and passengers are compromising their own safety – and the safety of those travelling with them – by choosing not to belt up on every journey.

This report highlights concern for the small but significant proportion of drivers who don’t wear a seat belt on every journey, risking the safety of themselves, their passengers and other road users

The drivers we surveyed clearly understand the importance of wearing a seat belt, with 97% agreeing that it should be enforced for all drivers and passengers, and 96% saying they always wear a seat belt when driving. However, our survey also revealed that even though people strongly support the wearing of seat belts, in some situations they occasionally choose not to wear one.

We know that every percentage increase in the number of people wearing seat belts helps reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads. It’s simple: seat belts save lives.

Brake and AXA UK are calling for a new public awareness and education campaign to highlight the safety benefits of belting up on every single journey, with a specific focus on driving at night.

Other recommendations from the report include mandatory seat belt reminders in all new vehicles, a review of the archaic law that exempts taxi drivers from wearing a seat belt, a review of the rules regarding seat belts in minibuses and coaches that carry seated passengers, and an expansion of projects to address non-seat-belt usage among work drivers.