The Role of Seat Belt in the Prevention of Fatalities and Determination of Fatality Index of Road Traffic Accidents in Rivers State
BACKGROUND Road traffic crashes still remain a prominent cause of death worldwide but proper use of safety belts can prevent death in some of these accidents. The aim of this study was therefore to examine the role of seat belt use / violation in Rivers State, Nigeria and to determine its relationship with fatality of road traffic accidents.
The study was a retrospective study conducted in conjunction with the FRSC on the incidence of RTA in the Rivers State located in the South Southern region of Nigeria. Relevant information was requested from the research and statistics department of the corporation. These comprised the number of vehicular accidents before and after the enforcement of seat belt law, seat belt violations and the number of injured persons and deaths.
From l970 to 1985, there were a total of 4211 accidents, out of which fatal accidents constituted only 15%, deaths recorded were 439 and total casualties were 4075 per 100,000 of the population and between 2005 and 2012,total number of accidents was 452 out of which fatal accidents constituted 25%. There were a total of 367 deaths and 2193 injured per 100,000 of the population.
The relationships of seat belt use/violation and outcomes of RTA in Rivers State were not statistically significant in this study. With the increased motorization and populationin the country and state,some benefit was observed in this present study in Nigeria, with the serious enforcement of seatbelt laws.
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