While seatbelt wearing rates in Australia are among the highest in the world, over the past ten years approximately 40% of fatalities and 10% of serious injuries in the Territory involved people who were not wearing a seatbelt.

Seatbelts and child restraints do not prevent crashes but they increase the chance of surviving a crash by up to 50%. A correctly fitted and used child car restraint that is appropriate for the child’s age and size, can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death.

In the event of a crash seatbelts:

  • prevent ejection from vehicle
  • decrease the time it takes for an occupant to come to a stop
  • spread the impact force over a greater area of the body
  • minimise contact with the interior of the vehicle.

In 2016, 13 of the 35 fatalities involving drivers or passengers on Territory roads, involved people not wearing a seatbelt. The simple task of buckling up may have saved half of these lives.

Groups more likely to not wear a seatbelt include:

  • intoxicated drivers and passengers
  • young people aged 15-24 years
  • people living in rural and remote areas
  • children aged 0-14 if the driver is also not wearing a seatbelt.

Fatalities attributed to not wearing seatbelts mostly occur on roads with higher speed limits in rural and remote areas.

Current initiatives

  • targeted police enforcement campaigns
  • school and community education programs
  • MACC urban and rural/remote seatbelt community awareness campaigns
  • MACC partnership with Kidsafe to build capability in remote areas to fit child restraints
  • MACC partnership with the Michael Long Leadership and Learning Centre Program focussing on seatbelt education for Aboriginal youth
  • working with community and health organisations to promote the use of child restraints
  • MACC child restraint pilot program in Borroloola, to educate and increase use of child restraints
  • support for regional and remote passenger transport services, to provide an alternative to travelling in overcrowded vehicles.

What you can do

  • always wear a seatbelt and make sure all children are in a correctly fitted child restraint
  • if you are driving, make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seatbelt.

Relevant Towards Zero Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2022 actions

 ActionsYearLeadSupport Safe System
3.1 Continue to facilitate and expand Aboriginal child restraint programs which provide access for the fitment of child restraints. 2-5 MACC/ DIPL DOE/ DOH/ POLICE Safe road use


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