The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ireland has launched a digital road safety campaign focusing on the misuse of seat belts by women.

Entitled “This Season’s Killer Look”, the campaign is aimed at discouraging women from wearing their seat belts under their arm, which can cause horrific injuries in the event of a collision.

A study of 300 women aged 17 to 34, undertaken in 2016 by Behaviour & Attitudes, on behalf of the RSA found that:

  • 28% admitted to misusing a seat belt by wearing it under the arm, rising to 35% among younger women
  • 53% of those interviewed said that their friends wore the seat belt under the arm
  • The main reasons cited for wearing the seat belt under the arm were to relieve neck tension (49%) and for general comfort (47%)
  • 9% said it was to protect their tan, or 7% to protect clothing
  • While seat belt compliance is consistently very strong among young females, it is not universal: e.g. 23% do not always wear a seat belt as a rear passenger

Commenting on the campaign, Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA, said: “How you wear your seat belt is as important as whether you wear your seat belt or not. Worryingly, whether for comfort or vanity, many women choose to wear their seat belts under the arm, instead of over the shoulder, which exposes them to terrible injuries and even death in the event of a crash. Placing the shoulder strap of the seat belt under their arm leaves your upper torso — including your neck, face and head — completely unrestrained during a collision.”

“My message to anyone who wears their seat belt under their arm is simple – wear your seatbelt correctly. The belt should be worn diagonally across the wearer’s chest on their shoulder and never under the arm. If it feels uncomfortable, adjust the height of the belt on the anchor point on the door frame or adjust the seat position and height. Most importantly of all avoid getting “This Season’s Killer Look” because you didn’t wear your seat belt properly.”

The campaign features primarily online in a bid to reach young women. It is fronted by a 30 second video ad, that can be viewed below.

The RSA sought the input of Gerry Lane, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Letterkenny General Hospital, Donegal in developing the campaign.

View the RSA campaign ad: This Season’s Killer Look