Seat belt use: Police enforcement

Enforcement actions concerning seat belt use should be intensive, highly visible and well publicised. Studies have shown that so-called 'blitz' actions, lasting only one to four weeks, can be very effective in producing sharp increases in seat belt wearing. To achieve long-term effects, they should be repeated several times a year. High levels of publicity are crucial for optimising the effects of enforcement (ETSC, 1999).

The European Commission recommends that enforcement actions be carried out at least three times a year, with each action lasting at least two weeks. They should be carried out predominantly in those places where there is an increased accident risk. Actions can be combined with other enforcement actions, e.g. concerning drink driving or speeding.

It is important that every detected offence is properly followed up and that sanctions are appropriate and dissuasive.

The cost-benefit ratio for seat belt enforcement according to the EC Recommendation is 1:10, on the rather moderate assumption that universal seat belt use could prevent 6000 deaths and 380 000 injuries every year in Europe (ICF Consulting).

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