UAE Seat Belt Use – ‘Before’ & ‘After’ the New Seat Belt Law

November 4, 2018

The UAE witnessed the introduction of the holistic seat belt law in July 2017. How did seat belt usage change since the introduction of this ground-breaking law?

RoadSafetyUAE jointly with QIC Insured researched the UAE seat belt usage in February 2017, a few months before the new law got introduced. The results back then were broadly published by UAE’s leading media and gave RoadSafetyUAE and other stakeholders great substance to lobby for the introduction of the then missing holistic seat belt law.

“Now, more than a year after the new law got introduced, we wanted to take a look at how the seat belt usage levels developed”, states Thomas Edelmann, Founder and Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE. He further comments, “International research shows, that seat belts safe lives between 40-80%, depending on the type of impact and the age of the user (kids/adults). In our opinion, the use of seat belts is the single biggest opportunity to reach the objectives of the ‘UAE Vision 2021’, namely to reduce the fatalities to 3.0 per 100,000 inhabitants (2017: 4.4). To illustrate the massive opportunity of seats belts: a 2017 study of Abu Dhabi Police shows, that 60% of traffic fatalities could have been avoided by the seat belt!”

It is important, that UAE’s motorists are aware of the new holistic seat belt law, and that everyone in a vehicle uses a seat belt and understands the protection seat belts offer. Surprisingly, ‘only’ 82% of respondents know about the new seat belt law and only 71% in the age group of 18-24. Even the meaning of the new law is unclear: only 70% know, that passengers on the back seat must wear seat belts! This value drops to 62% for the young age group (25-29 yrs.).

Comparing the seat belt usage trends ‘before’ (survey of Feb. 2017) and ‘after’ (survey of Sept. 2018) the introduction of the new seat belt law, we noticed overall improved trends:

‘Before’

‘After’

Trend

Drivers ‘always’ using the seat belt

69%

72%

+3%

Front-Seat passengers ‘always’ using the seat belt

71%

73%

+2%

Adult passengers in the backseat ‘always’ wearing the seat belt

11%

27%

+16%

Also, the role of the ‘responsible driver’ is improving:

‘Before’

‘After’

Trend

Drivers ‘always’ asking passengers to wear seat belts

49%

56%

+7%

Do you have proper child seats/boosters?

66%

76%

+10%

Do you ‘always’ ask your children to actually use the child seats/boosters?

70%

75%

+5%

However, it must be stated, that all these mentioned values must be at 100%, according to the new law! Some of the usage levels still are alarmingly low – for example on the back seats!

There is still a long way to go, both in further educating the use of seat belts as well as strictly enforcing the use! This is especially true for the segments of ‘young’ drivers and the segment of ‘Emirati’ drivers, as these 2 segments show below-average values, for example:

Survey Results September 2018

Overall

Key Segments

Description of Key Segments

Drivers ‘always’ using the seat belt

72%

61%; 62%

Emirati; 18-24yrs

Front-Seat passengers ‘always’ using the seat belt

73%

54%; 64%

Emirati; 25-29yrs

Adult passengers in the backseat ‘always’ wearing the seat belt

27%

15%, 20%

Arab Expat; 18-24yrs

Drivers ‘always’ asking passengers to wear seat belts

56%

44%; 46%

Emirati; 18-24yrs

Education efforts must aim at addressing the main reasons for non-usage. These reasons have not changed much in between the 2 survey dates:

You mentioned that you don't always wear your seat belt or ask your passengers to do so. Please tell us why?

Why don't you have proper child seats or booster cushions for your children?

When I sit on the back seat, I feel safe enough without seat belt

51%

I don't know which child seat or booster cushion to buy for my kid

27%

On short trips, it is not needed to wear seat belts

32%

My kids don't like to be strapped in child seats or booster cushions

24%

I am a safe driver and I will not be involved in an accident

17%

Too expensive

24%

Passengers holding kids is as safe as child seats or booster cushions

23%

I am a safe driver and I will not be involved in an accident

19%

The September 2018 study was commissioned by QIC Insured and RoadSafetyUAE and was conducted by YouGov in, based on the views of a representative sample of 1,016 UAE residents.

The February 2017 study was commissioned by QIC Insured and RoadSafetyUAE and was conducted by YouGov in, based on the views of a representative sample of 1,008 UAE residents.

Details be found in the ‘featured research’ section on http://www.roadsafetyuae.com/statistics/

About RoadSafetyUAE:

RoadSafetyUAE’s vision is to contribute to reducing the number of road traffic fatalities, injuries and accidents in the UAE. RoadSafetyUAE’s mission is to raise the awareness for proper conduct on our roads, in an engaging manner and on a broadly communicated and permanent basis. RoadSafetyUAE’s award-winning platform engages with the stakeholders traffic participants, governmental entities, the media, and more than 30 corporate social responsibility (CSR) minded partners. ‘Tips & Tricks’ are the content backbone, provided for more than 60 topics of road safety, all specifically relevant to the UAE. More information can be found on www.RoadSafetyUAE.com

In addition to QIC Insured, RoadSafetyUAE partners with RTA, Ministry of Education, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Health Authority, Michelin, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Al-Futtaim Honda, Volvo, Al Ghandi Auto (Chevrolet - GMC), MAN Trucks, Caltex, Johnson&Johnson, Serco, MiXTelematics, WABCO, Mamas & Papas, Abu Dhabi National Hotels Compass, STS, Osram, TomTom, Safety Media, Arab Wheels, AETOS Wire and more to join soon.