02 Oct 2022

16% of women wear seatbelt incorrectly to protect their false tan or clothing

More than 1 in 4 women misusing seat belt

16% of women wear seatbelt incorrectly to protect their false tan or clothing

A still from the RSA's latest road safety campaign.

An incredible 16% of women interviewed for a recent road safety survey have admitted wearing their seatbelt incorrectly to save their false tan or to, bizarrely enough, protect their clothing.

The findings were part of a study of 300 women aged 17-34 undertaken in 2016 by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Road Safety Authority.

The survey also found that 28% of respondents admitted to misusing a seatbelt by wearing it under their arm, rather than across their shoulder. This figure rose to 35% amongst younger respondents.

The survey found that the main reasons cited for wearing the seatbelt under the arm were to relieve neck tension (49%) and for general comfort. However 9% admitted they wore their seatbelt incorrectly to protect their tan while a further 7% said they did so to protect their clothing. Bizarrely enough protecting their own lives by wearing their seatbelts correctly didn't seem to be a priority.

The findings have prompted the  Road Safety Authority (RSA) to launch a new digital road safety campaign focusing on the misuse of seatbelts by women.

The campaign entitled “Get This Season’s Killer Look”, is aimed at discouraging women from wearing their seatbelts under their arm, which can cause horrific injuries in the event of a collision.

Commenting on the new campaign Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA, said “How you wear your seat belt is as important as whether you wear your seat belt or not. Worryingly, whether for comfort or vanity, many women choose to wear their seatbelts under the arm, instead of over the shoulder, which exposes them to terrible injuries and even death in the event of a crash. Placing the shoulder strap of the seatbelt under their arm leaves your upper torso — including your neck, face and head — completely unrestrained during a collision.

“My message to anyone who wears their seatbelt under their arm is simple – wear your seatbelt correctly. The belt should be worn diagonally across the wearer’s chest on their shoulder and never under the arm. If it feels uncomfortable, adjust the height of the belt on the anchor point on the door frame or adjust the seat position and height. Most importantly of all avoid getting “This Season’s Killer Look” because you didn’t wear your seatbelt properly.”

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