ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

An evaluation of interventions aimed at increasing restraint use in Whyalla, South Australia

Wundersitz, Lisa, Kloeden, Craig N., Walker, JR

Vehicle Safety


The effectiveness of police and mass media interventions on the rate of restraint use by car occupants in the regional city of Whyalla and in rural South Australia, was evaluated by the Road Accident Research Unit of the University of Adelaide using data supplied by Transport SA.

The trial was evaluated by examining observations of restraint use before (February 1998) and directly after the campaign (December 1998) and then three months later following a second campaign (March 1999). These results were also compared with self reported restraint use telephone surveys completed before (May 1998) and directly after the intervention (December 1998).

Observed restraint use levels for all vehicle occupants increased in Whyalla from 84 per cent in February 1998, to 93 per cent in December 1998. This increase was maintained four months later after supplementary education and enforcement. The increase brought the level of restraint use in Whyalla up to that of metropolitan Adelaide. Two other rural regions in South Australia also experienced increases in restraint use, but not to the same extent as in Whyalla. Self reporting surveys showed a substantial increase in the knowledge of penalties incurred for seat belt non-compliance following the intervention.

The interventions were followed by a large increase in restraint use, at least part of which appeared to result from the interventions.