Compliance with Seat Belt Use in Makurdi, Nigeria: An Observational Study
Background: Seat belts are designed to reduce injuries due to road crash among vehicle occupants.
Aims: This study aims to determine the availability of seat belt in vehicles and compliance with seat belt use among vehicle occupants.
Materials and methods: This was a 24‑h direct observational study of seat belt usage among vehicle occupants in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. By direct surveillance and using a datasheet, we observed 500 vehicles and their occupants for seat belt availability and compliance with its use. Chi‑square test was used for test of significance between variables.
Results: Twenty‑five (5.0%) of the observed 500 vehicles had no seat belt at all. Overall, compliance was 277/486 (57.0%). Use of seat belt was highest in the afternoon with 124/194 (64.4%), followed by 111/188 (59.0%) in the morning and 42/95 (44.2%) at night. Compliance was highest among car occupants [209/308 (67.9%)] and private vehicles, and lowest among commercial vehicle occupants. Compliance among female drivers was 77.1% compared with 51.4% among male drivers. Among drivers, the mean age of seat belt users was 38.4 (7.7) years, which was significantly younger than the 41.3 (8.7) years mean age of non‑users. Similar figures were obtained among other vehicle occupants.
Conclusions: Compared with previous studies, seat belt usage has improved among Nigerian road users, but there is still room for improvement, especially early in the mornings and at nights. Since these were times when law enforcement agencies were not likely to be on the roads, we advocate for improved coverage by enforcement agents to enforce better compliance.
Keywords: Driver, Epidemiology, Nigeria, Observational survey, Passenger, Seat belt use