The Ministry undertakes annual safety belt and child restraint surveys. The most recent results are available here.
Safety belt statistics
Wearing a safety belt reduces your chance of death or serious injury in a crash by 40 percent. Whether you sit in the front or the back seat, the risk of serious or fatal injury is virtually the same.
New Zealand's safety belt wearing rate is currently 96 percent for adults in the front seat, and 90 percent in the rear seat.
In New Zealand, Police officers attending fatal crashes give an indication of whether safety belts were worn at the time of the crash and estimate whether wearing a safety belt would have saved the person's life. Over the last few years about 30 lives could have been saved each year if people had worn their safety belts.
An adult safety belt is not enough
Every child under 7 years of age must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint when travelling in cars, vans and trucks. An adult safety belt alone is not enough. Children aged 7 years must use an appropriate child restraint if one is available, or else use an adult safety belt. Older children (aged 8 and over) must use a safety belt if available, and if no restraint is available they must travel in the rear seat. It is the driver's responsibility to make sure all child passengers are correctly restrained.
Child restraint statistics - under 5 year olds
Child restraint statistics - 5-9 year olds
Methodology and survey forms
This section shows the data collection methods and survey forms used by the Ministry to carry out front seat belt, rear seat belt and child restraint surveys. These may be useful to organisations and groups wishing to carry out local surveys.
Front seat safety belt use
Rear seat safety belt use
Child restraint use
Find out more about child restraint laws