Strapping Yarns: Why People Do and Do Not Wear Seatbelts

  • Published: Department for Transport (2008)
  • Authors: Christmas, S., Young, D., and Cuerden, R.
  • Date Added: 01 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 22 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf


To identify who does not wear a seatbelt and outline the different reasons for non-use


Data from literature reviews, individual interviews, qualitative workshops and questionnaire surveys

Key Findings:

  • A consistent minority (14%) of UK adults are inconsistent seatbelt wearers.

  • Increasing seatbelt use by adults aged 30 years and under would save most casualties.

  • Approaches to encourage seatbelt use could include prompting people to think about their behaviour; providing messages for use in conversation about seatbelts; information on minor not just major consequences of non-use; and on the benefits of seatbelts.

  • Non-users lack a seatbelt wearing habit.

  • Habit-forming behaviour could be prompted by offering positive reasons to wear seatbelts in situations where they are typically less likely to be worn.

  • Habit-forming behaviour could also be prompted by removing reasons for non-use.

  • ‘Driving when there are police around’ was one of the main situations in which people would most likely wear a seatbelt, as was ‘The front seat passenger putting their seatbelt on’.

  • A separate campaign focussing on rear seatbelt wearing would best tackle reasons for non-use that are unique to the rear seat passenger.