Seatbelt wearing rates in middle income countries: A cross-country analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Accident Analysis and Prevention






Injuries; Middle income countries; Road safety; Seat belts; Traffic accidents


In settings with low seatbelt use prevalence, self-reported seatbelt use estimates often lack validity, and routine observational studies are scarce. In this paper, we aim to describe the prevalence of seatbelt use and associated factors in drivers and front-seat passengers across eight sites in four countries (Egypt, Mexico, Russia, Turkey) using observational studies as well as to produce estimates of country-level and site-level variance. As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program, data on driver and passenger seatbelt use across four middle-income countries was collected between October 2010 and May 2011 (n = 122,931 vehicles). Logistic regression and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient analyses for sites- and country-level clustering were performed. We found high variability of seatbelt wearing rates ranging from 4 to 72% in drivers and 3-50% in front-seat passengers. Overall, average seatbelt wearing rates were low (under 60% in most sites). At the individual level, older and female drivers were more likely to wear seatbelts, as well as drivers of vehicles transiting at times of increased vehicle flow. We also found that 26-32% and 37-41% of the variance in seatbelt use among drivers and front-seat passengers respectively was explained by differences across sites and countries. Our results demonstrate that there is room for improvement on seatbelt use in middle-income countries and that standardized cross-country studies on road safety risk factors are feasible, providing valuable information for prevention and monitoring activities. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.