Investigating the Availability and Usage of Seatbelts in Malawi for Policy Review and Formulation
ACRS, DOI:10.33492/JRS-D-19-00235, https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-19-00235
Submission Date: August 1, 2020 Journal
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation: Ngwira, G.M., Bolaane, B. and Parida, B.P. (2020). “Investigating the Availability and Usage of Seatbelts in Malawi for Policy Review and Formulation”. Journal of Road Safety, 31(3), 48-56. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-19-00235
Road fatalities remain a major public health concern as over 1.3 million people across the world die in road accidents annually, and another 20-50 million sustain injuries. Malawi, with vehicle ownership about 437,416, has not been an exception to this, with reported fatality rates of 35 crash deaths per 100,000 population, possibly due to limited understanding of factors that contribute to such high road fatality rates. This may have resulted in implementing inappropriate and ineffective mitigation measures. Thus, the overall objective of this study was to investigate the availability, including their functionality and usage of seatbelts in motor vehicles, which could possibly be one of the major factors for increase in road fatalities. To establish the rates of availability, including their functionality and usage of seatbelts in motor vehicles, primary data through survey for a sample of 1,200 vehicles were investigated. The independent variables of data were cross tabulated with the dependent variables to establish these rates. Chi-square test was also performed to establish the significance of associations between the cross tabulated variables. The analysis found that Malawi’s drivers and passengers poorly comply with seatbelt laws. The overall seatbelt usage rate was 35.8%. In this regard, where over 90% of motor vehicles in Malawi have functional seatbelts, poor enforcement of existing seatbelt laws and awareness on the dangers of not using seatbelts could account for the low usage.