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The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has issued a call for drivers and passengers to wear seat belts on every journey following concerning research findings showing a decline in seat belt use among drivers and front-seat passengers between 2022 and 2023.

The manual observational study, conducted by the RSA in September-October 2023, revealed that seat belt wearing rates among drivers decreased by 4% (from 99% to 95%), and front seat passengers saw a 5% decrease (from 99% to 94%). In contrast, rear-seat passenger compliance showed a slight improvement, rising by 2% (from 93% to 95%). However, compliance was lower on rural roads, with only 92% of rear-seat passengers wearing seat belts.

Additional data from the 2023 European E-survey of Road Users’ Attitudes (ESRA) further highlighted the issue. The survey, which included responses from 901 Irish road users, found that one in ten people admitted to driving or riding as a front-seat passenger without a seat belt in the past 30 days. More alarmingly, one in five reported travelling as a rear-seat passenger without a seat belt.

RSA analysis of collision data from 2019-2023 indicated that 22% of car users killed and 7% of those seriously injured in this period were not wearing seat belts at the time of the collision.

Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, expressed concern over these findings, emphasising the critical importance of seat belt use:

“The first safety rule is to ensure your seatbelt is securely fastened. The decline in seatbelt use is a very real risk and potential killer behaviour. Seatbelts save lives, and choosing not to wear one is not only dangerous but selfish too.”

In response, the RSA is launching an advertising campaign to encourage drivers to ask passengers to wear their seat belts. The campaign will run across TV, radio, digital platforms, and social media from Monday until 14 July.

RSA CEO Sam Waide stated:

“We are asking drivers to set an example by wearing their own seatbelt and asking passengers to put theirs on too. Wearing a seatbelt can be the difference between surviving a collision and not. It is alarming to see this decline in usage, and it is a huge risk to not wear one, whether your journey is short or long, or requires multiple stops.”

The RSA’s “Check it Fits” child car seat roadshow will also visit Cork and Mayo in June, offering a free service to ensure child car seats are correctly fitted. In 2024, RSA experts checked 2,976 child car seats, finding that only 46% were correctly fitted. Upcoming event dates and locations are available on