The Zambian Road Safety Trust is urging Zambians to buckle up when travelling on the roads. Research done by the Trust research unit on 1st July 2014 revealed an alarming 51% vehicle occupants involving drivers and front seat passengers put on their seatbelts.
The survey carried out by the Trust Research Volunteers showed that occupant most likely to wear a seatbelt in Zambia is the driver at 51% rate. However, the wearing rate drops sharply for other occupants revealing 46% of front seat passengers buckle up. The snap survey did not include passengers on rear seats.
The seatbelt research was carried out in Lusaka at two locations simultaneously during peak-hour morning traffic. A total of 200 vehicles of differing types were surveyed. The total number of vehicle occupants at the two locations was 316.
The wearing of safety belts is compulsory in Zambia for drivers and passengers of motor vehicles occupying seats equipped with such belts.
Zambian Road Safety Trust – Board Chairperson, Daniel Mwamba:
“These findings are of great concern to the Zambian Road Safety Trust. Seatbelts can reduce the chances of death or serious injury in a crash by up to 75%. We cannot regard ourselves as a nation that takes road safety seriously until our seatbelt wearing rates reach international norms. I am calling on the Zambia Police and Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to step up enforcement of seatbelt wearing. If people won’t buckle up for safety reasons, perhaps the risk of a fine or going to court will convince them”.
International Road Safety Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that wearing safety belts reduces the likelihood of serious injury or death from automobile accidents. Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Failure to use a seat-belt is a major risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries among vehicle occupants. Passengers not wearing their seat-belts at the time of a collision account for the majority of occupant road traffic fatalities. In addition, passengers who do not wear seat-belts and have a frontal crash are most likely to suffer a head injury.
Although of paramount concern, there is more than just the human suffering associated with non-use of seat-belts. The financial burden of increased death and injury severity can have a major impact on the finances of the government and local communities who are paying for the resources that are required to deal with road crash victims and their families in the aftermath of a crash.
“The Zambian Road Safety Trust will engage corporate partners and the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications to expand and refine the seatbelt research survey into an ongoing programme which will eventually encompass locations across the country, with the survey being conducted on a quarterly basis” said Mr. Mwamba.