A study of road users in Putrajaya conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) has found that only 55% of drivers in the administrative capital wear their seatbelts, with females more likely to be wearing a seatbelt compared to their male front passengers.
The study titled “Seatbelt Wearing Compliance Among Road Users in Putrajaya” involved a total of 4,984 vehicles and 7,708 occupants.
It was done in view of the growing number of road accidents (795 accidents in 2006) and fatalities in Putrajaya which went from seven deaths in 2006 to nine in 2008, and in support of the implementation of the Putrajaya Zero Fatality Vision (PZFV).
Of the total 7,708 vehicle occupants observed, drivers made up 64.7% of the occupants followed by front passengers (24.2%) and rear passengers (11.1%).
Males accounted for 60.7% of the total drivers while 75.6% of front passengers and 67.4 % or rear passengers were females.
The study revealed that 55.2% of drivers wore their seatbelts, compared to only 46.1% of front passengers. Seatbelt wearing rate for rear seat passengers was exceptionally low at only 4.8%.
MPV and SUV drivers were also found to be significantly more likely to be wearing seatbelts than car drivers.
Meanwhile, only 4.8% of rear passengers in Putrajaya were seen buckling up, while occupants were more likely to be seen wearing a seatbelt between 7.15 am and 8.45 am compared to any other time of the day.
By time of day, drivers were also significantly more likely to be wearing their seatbelt in the morning (7.15am to 8.45am) compared to the lunch hour period (12.45pm to 2.15pm).
This is explained by longer travelling distance endured by vehicle occupants in the early morning as compared to the afternoon when they travel a shorter distance from the office to the food court and vice versa.
In general, female front passenger were more likely to be wearing a seatbelt than males. Even though the seatbelt wearing rate was low, the pattern was more obvious for rear passengers whereby 2.5 times of rear passengers were more likely to be wearing their seatbelt during the morning compared to during lunch hour period.
“What was most alarming is the fact that the overall seatbelt wearing was lower than the national seatbelt wearing rate and that it is prevalent at all locations regardless of time,” said Miros director-general Professor Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.
“The results, especially in terms of compliance to wearing rear seatbelts, were also alarmingly consistent with recent findings in which only 30.3% of rear passengers nationwide were found to be buckling up at the back after the rear seatbelt ruling came into effect in January 2009.”
In an effort to reduce road accidents and fatalities in Putrajaya in line with the implementation of the Putrajaya Zero Fatality Vision (PZFV), a total of 12 initiatives have been identified.
These include conducting speed limit surveys at selected locations, carrying out a road safety audit, organising road safety programme, installing electronic cameras and closed-circuit television cameras, upgrading pedestrian crossings, having safer road to schools and increasing public transportation usage and accessibility. Enforcement is also a necessary as an effective measure to increase seatbelt wearing.
“As the population of Putrajaya is growing, the number of road accidents are also expected to increase if there is no strong resolve or commitment to curb the issues,” said Professor Dr Ahmad Farhan.
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