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The use of seat belts in Sweden 2015

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Background & Policy context

VTI has observed seat belt use in a number of towns in Southern Sweden since 1983.


The objective of the project was to collect information about using of seat belt in Sweden in 2015.


The observations in 2015 were made over a total of ten days in August–September 2015. In total, approximately 57,300 passenger cars, 1,200 taxi cars and 8,900 other vehicles, e.g. lorries were observed


During the whole survey period, 1983–2015, seat belt use among drivers and front seat passengers has been at a considerably higher and more uniform level than among back seat passengers. At the beginning of the surveys, 84–86 per cent of drivers and front seat passengers already wore a seat belt. Today, the levels are 97–98 per cent, a slight increase from the previous year.

When VTI commenced the surveys in 1983, seat belt use by adult back seat passengers was at a modest 10 per cent. When the law requiring all adult occupants to wear seat belts in passenger cars came into force on 1 July 1986, the figure quickly increased to 60 per cent. According to the latest observations, approximately 89 per cent of all adult back seat passengers wear a seat belt, which is so far the highest rate and significantly higher than the level 2014.

In the back seat, children have always had a much higher belt use than the adults, which also applies to 2015, when 97 per cent of children in the back seat were belted. This is an increase compared with 2014 and seat belt use among children in the back seat is on par with the car occupant in the front seat.

A sub-study among drivers of passenger cars shows that women consistently have higher seat belt use than men. In addition, seat belt usage increases with age, especially among male drivers. Seat belt use by taxi drivers has been observed at all sites studied since 1995. Furthermore, since 1 October 1999, taxi drivers have been required by law to wear a seat belt and the figure subsequently increased steadily, a 90-percent level was reached in 2006. In 2015 the level is nearly 97 per cent, slightly lower than in 2014 but still close to the seat belt use among drivers of passenger cars. Additionally, in 1996 VTI commenced studies of seat belt use in other vehicles, mainly lorries. Similar to the taxi drivers, the level of seat belt use by lorry drivers has increased since 1996, even though the initial seat belt use was rather modest and the increase not as strong.

In the heavy vehicles, with or without trailers, approximately 5–7 per cent of all drivers wore a seat belt in 1999 compared to 69 per cent by 2015. It is on a significantly higher level than 2014 but still significantly lower than for passenger cars.



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