TRL carries out a series of regular surveys for the Department for Transport on the use of seat belts and other restraints by vehicle occupants of all ages and in all seating positions. The DfT survey is carried out once a year at 32 sites in two extensive study areas centred on Crowthorne and Nottingham. The 32 sites were selected to be typical of a general type of traffic condition, not to be considered in isolation.
Five of the sites in the annual DfT survey are located in the Thames Valley. In 2008 the Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership commissioned TRL to survey an additional five sites in the Thames Valley region in order to estimate the rate of seat belt use on built-up roads in their region. The additional sites, in Aylesbury, Banbury, Oxford, High Wycombe and Milton Keynes, were surveyed using the same methodology as the regular DfT survey.
This report describes the results of a repeat survey in the Thames Valley area carried out in 2009. Results from the two Thames Valley survey – 2008 and 2009 are compared with results from the Thames Valley sites and the built-up sites from the most recent DfT survey.
The overall seat belt wearing rates for car drivers in the Thames Valley survey in 2009 were similar to the results from 2008, and this is also true of the DfT survey results. There has been a significant increase observed in the proportion of other car occupants wearing seat belts, now much closer to the DfT results. The proportion of taxi passengers and van drivers observed wearing seat belts in the Thames Valley survey increased from 2008 rates and the rate for van passengers has remained constant. The proportion of taxi drivers wearing seat belts in 2009 has decreased compared to the 2008 results, although these fluctuations will be affected by small numbers.
The proportion of drivers observed using hand-held and hands free mobile phones at Thames Valley survey sites was lower in 2009 than in 2008.

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