x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

More than half of students believe only drivers should wear seatbelts

Fifty-eight per cent of the students said they would be more inclined to wear a seatbelt if they understood and were convinced of the benefits.

Despite ongoing safety campaigns, many people in the UAE continue to not wear a seatbelt. Delores Johnson / The National
Despite ongoing safety campaigns, many people in the UAE continue to not wear a seatbelt. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // Half of the university students in a nationwide survey think there is no need to buckle up unless they are driving.

In the poll of more than 3,000 male and female students aged between 18 and 23, 50 per cent agreed that everyone should wear a seatbelt while travelling in a car.

But a third of the students said they never wore a seatbelt, while 45 per cent strongly agreed that seatbelts were as likely to harm as to help.

Forty-two per cent said they always forgot to wear a seatbelt.

Despite 44 per cent of students having been in a car crash, 72 per cent still said they “only sometimes” or never buckled up.

Nine respondents out of 10 said they knew of someone who had been in a car crash, with more than half having been being involved in one.

Seven out of 10 still did not wear a seatbelt despite admitting that they were shaken by the experience.

The survey was carried out in March for BMW Group Middle East and each respondent was asked 10 questions on road safety. Ipsos, the market research company, collated the analysis in April.

The study also found that 58 per cent of the students said they would be more inclined to wear a seatbelt if they understood and were convinced of the benefits.

Peer pressure was found to be a determining factor, with half saying they would wear a seatbelt if their friends and parents did.

Slightly more than half the respondents said it was not their responsibility to ensure their passengers were wearing a seatbelt and 74 per cent of them did not check that passengers buckled up.

“The research findings highlight the urgent need for further education on road safety,” said Leanne Blanckenberg, corporate communications manager at BMW Group Middle East.

“If you want effective results, you can’t only tell someone to do something, you need to explain the rationale and benefits to them.”

rruiz@thenational.ae