**CHAPTER 3 Seat belts matter**

**3.1 Twenty-one countries – seat belts versus fatality rates**

Chapter 4.

The 21 countries will be examined, including the eight Australian States/Territories and the ten Canadian Provinces – a total of 37 jurisdictions.

The aim is to visually examine the importance of seat belt wearing in the post- 1970 declines in fatality rates around the world.

It is the remarkable inverse patterns, fitting each other symmetrically and in time, that go a long way to creating an understanding of the importance of seat belts.

If one looks at the graphs sideways from the left, they appear to be a set of symmetrical wine glasses, with the bases on higher and higher shelves.

It is the symmetry and time association that are the major clues supporting a causal inference – one that is utilised in the modelling that follows in Chapter 4.

### 3.1 Twenty-one countries – seat belts versus fatality rates

Figure 3.1 shows fatality rate declines during periods of rapid take-up of seat belt wearing.

They are arranged in rough chronological order of seat belt wearing increases, and begin and end with the period where seat belt wearing increases were the major influence. This is in order to isolate as much as possible this period from periods when other influences on fatality rates come into operation.

The Australian State of Victoria was the first jurisdiction in the world to mandate the wearing of seat belts (when fitted in vehicles).

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries

Victoria seatbelts Victoria fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

New South Wales seatbelts New South Wales fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Queensland seatbelts Queensland fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Australian Capital Territory seatbelts Australian Capital Territory fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Chapter 3 • Seat belts matter

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

15

Australia seatbelts Australia fatality rate (RHS)

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

New Zealand seatbelts New Zealand fatality rate (RHS)

25

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Western Australia seatbelts Western Australia fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Tasmania seatbelts Tasmania fatality rate (RHS)

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Northern Territory seatbelts Northern Territory fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Swedish seatbelts Swedish fatality rate (RHS)

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

France seatbelts France fatality rate (RHS)

20

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

South Australia seatbelts South Australia fatality rate (RHS)

10 15 20 25 30

Chapter 3 • Seat belts matter

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Netherlands seatbelts Netherlands fatality rate (RHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

British Columbia seatbelt rate British Columbia fatality rate (LHS)

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Finland seatbelts Finland fatality rate (RHS)

5

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Belgium seatbelts Belgium fatality rate (RHS)

0

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

Israel seatbelts Israel fatality rate (RHS)

10

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Ontario seatbelt rate Ontario fatality rate (LHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Quebec seatbelts Quebec fatality rate (LHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Saskachewan seatbelts Saskachewan fatality rate (LHS)

0

Chapter 3 • Seat belts matter

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

Norway seatbelts Norway fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

German seatbelts German fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Switzerland seatbelts Switzerland fatality rate (RHS)

5

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

Canada seatbelts Canada fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

Denmark seatbelts Denmark fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Ireland seatbelts Ireland fatality rate (RHS)

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Britain seatbelts Britain fatality rate (RHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Newfoundland seatbelt rate Newfoundland fatality rate (LHS)

0

Chapter 3 • Seat belts matter

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

New Brunswick seatbelt rate New Brunswick fatality rate (LHS)

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Manitoba seatbelt rate Manitoba fatality rate (LHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Nova Scotia seatbelt rate Nova Scotia fatality rate (LHS)

0

Fatalities per billion vkt

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Austria seatbelts Austria fatality rate (RHS)

28

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

United States seatbelts United States fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008

Prince Edward Island seatbelt rate Prince Edward Island fatality rate (LHS)

Fatalities per billion vkt

0

All-occupant wearing rate (%)

2008 1978 1980 1976 1974 1972 1970 1968

Alberta seatbelt rate Alberta fatality rate (LHS)

Fatalities per billion vkt

5

Hungary seatbelts Hungary fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Chapter 3 • Seat belts matter

Figure 3.1 Seat belt wearing vs fatality rate, 21 countries (continued)

Japan seatbelts Japan fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Korea seatbelts Korea fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008

Czech Republic seatbelts Czech Republic fatality rate (RHS)

All-occupant wearing rate (%) Fatalities per billion safety-wgt vkt

2008