1 School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden
2 Youth Association for Social Awareness- YASA, Lebanon
3 Higher School of Public Health, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
4 School of Health and Education, University of Skovde, Sweden
The use of seat belts has made a significant contribution to the reduction of road traffic casualties, and the risk inherent with not wearing seat belts in all seats of a vehicle is now well-known worldwide. The use of seat belts has a major role in reducing fatal and nonfatal injuries in all types of motor-vehicles crashes.
The aim of this study is to understand the reasons behind the variation in seat belt use over the past two decades in Lebanon. It analyzes the situation and suggests recommendations to improve seat belt use in Lebanon.
Nine observational studies had been conducted in Lebanon during the last two decades between 1997 and 2017, and one qualitative study was performed in 2017.
The results show a significant variation in the use of the seat belt. When enforcement efforts are in progress, seat belt use increases. While when there are no checkpoints and the enforcement of seat belt use is almost absent, a significant fall was noticed.
The results of this study proved the failure of the Lebanese government in saving hundreds of lives just by a simple measure of enforcing seat belt law. Although experiences from various countries prove that such laws usually have a long-lasting effect on seat belt use, Lebanon failed to pursue the successful implementation of this law due to security and political problems.
During the past two decades, Lebanon witnessed continuous fluctuations in seat belt use. Outside few short enforcement campaigns, our observations showed lack in seat belt use. Our observations of seat belt use among drivers and front seat passengers showed a significant correlation between seat belt use and the enforcement of seat belt law.
The greatest national benefits from seat belt use are obtained when wearing rates are very high. This can be achieved only through a sustained enforcement campaign alongside other seat belt wearing interventions such as publicity and education.
Keywords: Seat belts, Lebanon, Road Traffic Injuries (RTI), Injury prevention, Law enforcement, Media campaigns.
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