EASST launches regional #SavedByASeatBelt campaign
Using a seat belt can increase the chances of surviving in a car crash by up to 70%
However, many people still don’t use seat belts due a number of prevailing myths and misconceptions about wearing them.
In the EASST region, which covers 14 countries across Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and South-East Europe over 40% drivers choose to forego seat belts while seat belt wearing rates for back seat passengers is as low as 15%.
Through focus groups studies, EASST has heard excuses such as:
“When a car crashes it is better to be thrown from the car than to be trapped inside.”
“Seat belts are uncomfortable and restrict movement behind the wheel.”
“A seat belt only works for speeds up to 60 km/h, on the highway it is useless.”
“Seat belts make my shirt dirty.”
The aim of our #SavedByASeatBelt campaign, which launched on 23rd September, is to challenge these myths and raise awareness of the importance of wearing seat belts and using child restraint systems via sharing positive real-life examples of how seat belts have saved lives. EASST’s Emma MacLennan shared her story.
This is the first time EASST partners are coming together with a shared message across the region. In addition to our social media campaign, which has so far reached over 150,000 people in 10 countries, EASST partners have been hosting events in each country, delivering training and mobilising the public to buckle up!
In Moldova and Tajikistan our EASST partners have been working in collaboration with local taxi companies securing commitments to encourage seat belt wearing amongst their drivers and passengers. Both partners organised a donation drive to collect disused child car seats from members of the public and distribute them to the taxi companies – so everyone who travels by taxi (no matter how old) is safe. The events also included training for taxi drivers on how to install car seats as well as raising awareness of the importance of wearing seat belts. In Tajikistan, several taxis even added our Buckle Up! campaign sticker to their passenger doors advertising the message to everyone they pass.
In Azerbaijan and Belarus, EASST partners worked with local school children to bring the message home. As part of their regular road safety education programmes, both partners focused on raising awareness of children on the importance of seat belts and bid them to remind their parents to buckle up every time they get in the car.
In Greece, Make Road Safe Hellas were able to collaborate with BMW Hellas who donated two child car seats and distributed our campaign brochure to their national mailing list.
Across the EASST region, there are significant gaps in seat belt legislation and enforcement is weak. In many countries, it is not yet mandatory for passengers traveling in the back seat to wear a seat belt. While, in a number of cases, child restraint laws are also weak – neglecting quality assurance and/or failing to specify differences as per a child’s height and weight in accordance with international best practice. We hope that by raising the profile of seat belt use or lack thereof in the region we can mobilise governments to strengthen their laws and enforcement practices to ensure no life is lost needlessly.
If you have been #SavedByASeatBelt and are willing to share your story, please send it to us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @EASSTransport