An observational study of restraint and helmet wearing behaviour in Malaysia

Jennifer Oxley, Steve O'Hern, Anne Jamaludin

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Unrestrained and unhelmeted occupants are at increased risk of severe injury or death in the event of a crash, and there is evidence that children, particularly in low and middle income countries, have low restraint and helmet wearing rates. Roadside observations of occupants of passing vehicles (7247 cars, vans and taxis and 2897 motorcycles) in nearside lanes were made at seven selected road sites located around the Klang Valley (greater Kuala Lumpur) area representing a variety of demographic locations. The findings revealed an overall low rate of seat-belt wearing in vehicles (front seat drivers: 44.6%; front seat adult passengers: 33.8%; front seat child passengers: 11.8%; rear seat adult passengers: 5.2%; and, rear seat child passengers: 5.8%). For motorcyclists, the majority of adult riders and pillions wore helmets (93.4% and 85.8%, respectively), however a substantial proportion (40%) did not fasten their helmet properly. Of children observed on motorcycles, only 30.5% wore helmets. This study shows low seat-belt and helmet wearing rates, despite enactment of legislation that requires all vehicle passengers to be restrained and for all motorcyclists to wear helmets. This was particularly evident for children (front and rear seating positions) and rear seat adult passengers. It is suggested there is a general lack of awareness of safety and the benefits of restraint/helmet use, and lack of adequate and appropriate enforcement. The implications of the findings are discussed in terms of promoting restraint/helmets use, enforcement of legislation and implementation of technologies to increase appropriate restraint/helmet use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-184
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Child safety
  • Global road safety
  • Helmet wearing
  • Restraint use

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