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Open Access Short Report

Pattern of seat belt use by drivers in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

Abiodun Olukoga1*, George Legall1 and Abayomi Odekunle2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Para-Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, WI

2 Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, WI

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:201  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-201

Published: 16 June 2011

Abstract

Background

In Trinidad and Tobago, the law on the mandatory use of seat belts was passed in 1995, but this law is hardly enforced. The objective of this study was to determine the frequency and predictors of seat belt use by motor vehicle drivers in the country.

Findings

A cross-sectional study of 959 motor vehicle drivers using a self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis included Pearson Chi square test and multinomial logistic regression analysis in order to determine the possible predictors of seat belt use by the drivers in Trinidad and Tobago. A majority of the drivers sometimes (51.8%) or always (31.6%) use a seat belt. About 16.7%, 29% and 54.2% of the drivers perceived that the other drivers use their seat belts more frequently, with the same frequency and less frequently respectively compared to themselves. The main reason for not using seat belt by the drivers was given as frequent stops (40.7%) and the main motivation to use seat belt by the drivers was given as stiffer penalties for non-compliance with the seat belt law (44.5%). The predictors of seat belt use were male driver, no formal or lower level of education, driving for less than 10 years, and the perception that the other drivers use seat belts with the same or higher frequency compared to the respondents.

Conclusion

Only a small proportion of the drivers in Trinidad and Tobago always use a seat belt when driving. There is the need to enforce the seat belt legislation in the country.