Mandatory seat belt usage can achieve a high wearing rate by vehicle occupants. This has been the Victorian experience since seat belt laws were first introduced late in 1970.
The undoubted benefits afforded by a seat restraint in a road crash are reflected in the significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries sustained by vehicle occupants. These benefits have contributed to community acceptance of seat belt laws and a willingness to accept other road safety countermeasures.
Whilst there has been no significant change in the patterns of injury sustained by restrained and unrestrained vehicle occupants there is clinical evidence that the incidence of head and chest injuries has declined. However, the incidence of head and chest injuries is still unacceptable and indicates the need to refine existing restraint systems, to redesign the vehicle and to develop other protective devices.
A simple act of political courage would save countless American lives in road crashes.