More people wearing seatbelts since 2007

POSTED: 07/17/13 1:07 PM

St. Maarten – Back in late 2007, Today published an article on the percentage of cars in which motorists were wearing their seatbelts. Out of a random sampling of motorists driving near the Prins Bernhard Bridge, more than 40 percent were not wearing their seatbelts then, even though the traffic regulation regarding the mandatory wearing of seatbelts had already gone into effect.

Six years on and it appears the results have improved. Today again conducted a non-scientific, random sampling of vehicles passing in all directions near the Prins Bernhard Bridge between about 1:45pm and 2:45pm yesterday. Out of an overall 197 observed motorists in different types of vehicles – including buses, private vehicles, rentals, etc – 146 occupants were observed wearing their seatbelts, or approximately 74% of the total. In the category of private vehicles, though, only 64% of those observed wore their seatbelts. There is ample room there for improvement.

What was interesting to note, simply by sitting and observing the traffic, was the relatively large amount of darkly tinted vehicles on the road which made it next to impossible to determine whether a seatbelt was in fact worn or not because it was too dark inside to view the actions of the driver properly.

Like the results in 2007, most bus drivers appear to be observing the law. Out of 31 observed buses, 26 of their drivers were wearing their seatbelt, or approximately 84%. Drivers of many commercial or freight vehicles, though, appeared not to be wearing their seat belts. Out of 19 observed commercial vehicles, only 58% of their drivers were wearing seatbelts.

On the whole, most occupants of rental cars wore their seatbelts. It may be reasonable to assume that the persons inside the vehicles were likely tourists from North America where it is not only mandatory to wear a seatbelt, but part of driving culture in general. For example, out of the 17 rental cars seen driving thru the intersection by the bridge, 16 had occupants wearing their seatbelts, or roughly 94%.

Based on these rudimentary observations, the percentage of motorists wearing their seatbelts has gone up since the introduction of the seatbelt law six years ago. Then again, there are also a lot of cars on the road with tint so dark as to make it impossible to see whether or not a seatbelt was worn.

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