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Can J Public Health. 1998 Sep-Oct;89(5):320-4.

Factors associated with seat belt use: an evaluation from the Ontario Health Survey.

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Department of Geography, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario.


This study examines the factors associated with seat belt use for drivers and passengers in Ontario. Using the 1990 Ontario Health Survey, a population-based survey of non-institutionalized Ontario residents, factors associated with seat belt use among drivers and passengers were identified and are reported as unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (OR; 95% CI). Seat belt non-use in Ontario drivers was most strongly associated with younger age (p < 0.0001), high risk health behaviours (drinking and driving (OR: 2.43), speeding (OR: 2.04), smoking (OR: 1.66)), being male (OR: 1.87), living in northern (OR: 1.80) or rural (OR: 1.69) regions, and achieving lower education (OR: 1.46). Seat belt non-use in passengers was associated with younger age (p < 0.0001), smoking (OR: 1.62), being male (OR: 1.68), living in northern (OR: 1.63) or rural (OR: 1.46) regions, and low education (OR: 1.31). Vehicular trauma is a major public health problem and seat belt use has been shown to reduce injuries in the event of a crash. Any strategy to increase seat belt use in Ontario should be targeted to involve both drivers and passengers. Attention should be paid to increasing seat belt usage by younger adults, males, and especially those living in northern and rural regions.

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