Key result

In 2016, the safety belt wearing rate for drivers and adult front seat passengers was 96.5 percent. This is a slight decrease from 97 percent observed in 2014 (see Table below).

Introduction

The Ministry of Transport conducts and collates information for a number of road safety surveys every year. Survey topics include child restraints, safety belt use, speed and the annual Public Attitudes to Road Safety survey.

The latest national survey of safety belt use in New Zealand by adults in the front seats of cars and vans was carried out in March and April 2016. About 95,000 drivers and adult front seat passengers were observed at 274 sites around the country. As in previous years, each site was surveyed between 10 am and 12 pm on normal working weekdays during the school term. In 2012, the survey moved from being an annual survey, to being run every 2 years.

Statistical significance of changes and sample sizes

Changes from the previous survey are tagged if they are found to be statistically significant at the 5 percent level; that is, the change in the wearing rate observed in the survey is likely to reflect a real change in the wearing rate. The accuracy of the wearing rates shown here depends on the sample sizes (the number of vehicle occupants observed). If the sample size is small, the data may show large random fluctuations in the observed wearing rate.

Trends

The table shows the wearing rates for various categories of front seat occupant for the last 10 surveys.

Table: Safety belt wearing rates for front seat adults by category for the past ten surveys (%)

Category

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2014

2016

Urban

94

94

94

94

95

95

95

96

96.5

96.3

Open road

96

97

96

96

96

97

97

97

97.8

*97.2

Drivers

95

95

95

95

96

96

96

96

97.3

*96.8

Passengers

95

96

95

95

95

96

95

96

96.6

*95.9

Males

93

94

94

93

94

95

95

95

96.3

*95.8

Male drivers

94

94

94

94

95

95

95

95

97.3

*96.1

Male passengers

90

93

90

91

90

92

92

93

94.2

94.1

Females

96

97

97

97

97

98

97

97

98.0

*97.3

Female drivers

96

97

97

97

97

98

97

97

98.1

*97.6

Female passengers

96

97

97

96

97

97

97

97

97.8

*96.7

All New Zealand

95

95

95

95

95

96

96

96

97.1

*96.5

* Statistically significant change from previous survey.

Figure: Safety belt wearing rates for front seat adults, 1996-2016

Graph showing time series of front seat safety belt wearing rates Regional, local authority, police district and police area wearing rates

Further breakdowns of wearing rates by region, metropolitan area, local authority, police district and police area are available in the attached spreadsheet.

Download spreadsheet for full survey results [XLSX, 225 KB] including raw data table.