The protection that seat belt wearing provides for car occupants has been widely recognised for a number of years. This led in January 1983 to the requirement that all car drivers and front seat passengers should wear seat belts. A similar requirement has applied since September 1989 to children who travel in the rear of cars fitted with rear seat belts or other child restraints. This report summarises the seat belt wearing rates that have been found by various surveys since 1982. In particular, it describes a new series of biannual surveys that was begun by TRRL in October 1988. This is more detailed than its predecessors, and comprehensive result are presented from the first three surveys. These show that the 1989 regulations have led to seat belts being worn by about 80 per cent of children travelling in the rear of cars that are fitted with rear seat belts.

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