The benefits of wearing a seat belt and using child restraint systems are undeniable. The former reduce the risk of death in accidents while the latter reduce child fatalities by 75 percent and injuries by 90 percent. However, many parents still choose to drive without using this crucial safety system for their children. In Argentina, only 45 percent of parents use a CRS according to the latest data from the National Road Safety Agency.
The "Observational study in Argentina on road habits and culture 2014", conducted by the Ministry of Interior and Transport of the Presidency of Argentina and presented recently, reveals that there is now greater awareness of the importance of these restraint systems than in previous years. For example, the use of seat belts in all vehicles has risen from 33.3 percent in 2011 to 45.9 percent in 2014. Nevertheless, these figures are sadly lacking if we consider the extent to which these systems can reduce road accident figures.
With regard to child restraint systems, use has risen from 26.2 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2014. This means that some 55 percent of parents are still failing to protect their children properly.
Among the factors that influence the driving behavior of Argentinians, the report highlights the fact that the driver continues to be highly influential when it comes to the use of seat belts or protection systems by the other occupants of the vehicle. Indeed, if the driver uses a seat belt, they also use a child restraint system in 70.8 percent of cases. In the other 29.2 percent of cases, even when the driver fastens his or her own seat belt, they still fail to provide their children with proper protection. And when the driver does not wear a seat belt, they do not use a child restraint system in 87 percent of cases.
The report also confirms that women tend to use seat belts and child seats more than men. Women drivers use a CRS in 63.7 percent of cases, while male drivers only do so in 35.6 percent of cases.
Other factors that affect the use of these protection systems to a greater or lesser degree are the age of the vehicle, economic factors, distractions and the geographical area. We should not forget that regional, environmental and demographic factors can influence road use and driving behavior.
For example, the AMBA region (City of Buenos Aires and 24 districts in the province of Buenos Aires) is where seat belts are used the most, with 53.7 percent. In contrast, the NEA region (Formosa, Chaco, Santa Fe, Misiones, Corrientes and Entre Ríos) has the lowest seat best usage, with 34.4 percent.
This observational study was accompanied by a survey and the results are slightly different. With regard to child restraint systems, while the observational study reflected use of just 45 percent, in the survey some 63.4 percent of parents claimed they installed a child seat and ensured their child was properly protected.