Women are being urged to wear seat belts correctly after a study found one in four do not.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána made the appeal after 26 percent of women in an online survey admitted to previously having worn the shoulder strap of their seat belt under their arm rather than on their shoulder.

The study also found 11 percent of those surveyed who said they wear their seat belt under arm said they do so always or often and 32 percent indicated that their female friends also wore their seat belt under their arm at least sometimes.

The RSA says placing the shoulder strap of a seat belt under the arm leaves the upper torso – including neck, face and head – completely unrestrained during a collision and exposes people to “horrific injury”.

The research, carried out for the RSA by independent research company Behaviour & Attitudes, showed that the main reason for putting the seat belt under the arm was to relieve neck irritation.

The organisation is now running an online campaign “This Season’s Killer Look” aimed at women to highlight the dangers of wearing a seat belt under the arm.