Research into car safety

March 2012

Which accident prevention programmes can successfully reduce car accident injury rates or change safety behaviour?

20 mph zones

There is evidence that introducing 20mph zones in London reduced road traffic casualties by around 41% , with the greatest percentage reduction for young children.

The researchers in this study analysed road casualty data collected by police.

Child restraint and seat belt educational campaigns

A study carried out in Nevada between 2003 and 2005 demonstrated that the awareness campaign they were running at the time had a positive impact on seatbelt use.

Seat belt educational campaigns are also recommended in a systematic review compiled by Therese Dowswell and Elizabeth Towner. The authors suggest that seatbelt use is effective or partially effective in all studies with good evidence.

Child restraint loan schemes

Research on a simple car restraint loan scheme in Athens showed the intervention to be effective in encouraging good in-car safety. 82% of the 188 families who participated in the study went on to buy their own child restraint for use once the loan had ended.

Child restraint legislation

Between 1978 and 1986 many US states passed seatbelt laws which required all passengers, including children, to be properly restrained when in the car. A systematic review covering studies carried out in this period showed that the legislation not only increased seat belt usage but also had a 35% median reduction in fatal childhood injuries.


Updated June 2013