Lessons and results from the observational study of motor vehicle restraint use in Western Australia
While many US states regularly make use of methodologically sophisticated restraint use surveys, few such surveys are, or have been conducted in Australia. This is a problem because, particularly in Western Australia, there is little reliable objective information on which to base campaigns and interventions. In 2005 the Western Australian Office of Road Safety commissioned ARRB Group to conduct an observational survey of restraint use across the state of Western Australia. A reliable and valid observational method was developed equivalent to world?s best practice. This paper reports on the lessons learned in developing this methodology and conducting the survey. The results of the survey highlight a number of concerns. In particular, it was found that although the overall rate of
restraint use in Western Australia is very high at this point in time (96%), there are nevertheless major areas of concern. In particular, some regional areas had very low rates of restraint use (as low as 56%) and would undoubtedly benefit from some kind of intervention designed to increase usage rates. In addition, children, especially in the 1 to 4 year old age group were frequently not correctly restrained.
Only 63% of 1 ? 4 year olds were correctly restrained. For 5 ? 11 year olds it was 83% and for 12 ? 16 year olds it was 91%. This suggests that there would be enormous value in exploring the restraint usage of children in more depth, perhaps in a survey that contained an interview component.