Seat belts and restraints

“During 1 January to 31 December 2010, there were 31 unrestrained vehicle occupant fatalities as a result of crashes within Queensland, which represents 28.7% of vehicle occupant fatalities within Queensland, where restraint use was known (n=108)” (Department of Transport and Main Roads 2011, p19).

Research suggests that using a seatbelt can reduce a vehicle occupant’s risk of death by at least 40 per cent

Around 40 years after seat belt use was first made compulsory in Queensland, it is a real concern that so many vehicle occupants are still being killed in crashes because they are not properly restrained when travelling.

While continued public education about the importance of wearing a seatbelt and enforcement to deter vehicle occupants from failing to wear a seatbelt should continue (especially in regional Queensland), improved vehicle features could also assist in wearing rates.

The safety of children as occupants of motor vehicles is also an important issue. RACQ believes that many serious injuries can be prevented with the proper use of child restraints.

In 2009 Queensland adopted national road rules requiring:
  • Children up to six months of age to be appropriately restrained in a suitable approved rearward facing child restraint;
  • Children between six months and four years of age to be appropriately restrained in a suitable approved rearward facing child restraint or forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness; and
  • Children between four years and seven years of age to be appropriately restrained in a suitable approved forward facing child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or seated on a suitable approved and appropriately located booster seat and restrained by a seatbelt that is appropriately fastened and adjusted (National Transport Commission 2008).

How to install a car seat

Got stuck trying to install your child seat? Unsure which seat best suits your little one? RACQ's Child Restraints video can help, with step-by-step instructions to installing a rear-facing, front-facing and a child booster seat.

It is believed that these new rules will help to "provide a safe pathway from capsules to seatbelts and will reduce the risk of injury to children caused by restraints that are unsuitable for their weight and height" (Queensland Transport 2008, p16).

Best practice guidelines are available for child restraint selection and fitting.

    1. Monitor and report on the use of seat belts and child restraints and the crash involvement of those wearing/not wearing suitable restraints.
    2. Identify and target at-risk groups who continue to travel unrestrained by implementing a level of enforcement and education to facilitate better understanding of the dangers of not wearing restraints and the real risk of detection.
    3. Continue to educate parents and carers about the changes to Queensland’s Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009 in relation to seat belts and child restraints.
    4. Further educate parents and carers about selecting and using the most appropriate restraints and how to install them correctly in their vehicles.
    5. Ensure educational material is in a form that is easy to understand and accessible to people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
  • Australian Transport Council 2008, National Road Safety Action Plan 2009 and 2010, Australian Transport Council, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

    Department of Transport and Main Roads 2011, 2010 Year In Review Road Crash Report, Queensland Government

    National Transport Commission 2008, Australian Road Rules: February 2008 edition, National Transport Commission

    Queensland Transport 2008, Queensland Road Safety Action Plan 2008-2009: safe4life, Queensland Government, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.