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Knowledge and Behaviour of the Medical Services Department (M.S.D) of Armed Forces Employees Toward Seat Belt Use, Riyadh, 2007


Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) is considered social and economic problems in many countries of the world whether they are developed or developing countries as they have an unfavorable social and economic impact. The statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 1.2 million people were killed and 50 million injured in road-traffic crashes worldwide, costing the global community about US$518 billion each year. The use of seat belts is considered one of the effective procedures that secure safety and security during driving. It has been mentioned in the international report about the protection from the causalities resulted from traffic accidents issued by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 that the usage of seat belts could diminish the death rate results from traffic accidents by rates varying between 25% and 50%.


A cross-sectional study with structured self-administer questionnaire distributed by the investigator randomly for 10% of the employees in each department of the medical services department (MSD) of the armed forces in Riyadh.


The study sample size was 250 participants and according to their occupation there are (66.4%) military and (33.6%) civilian. About half of the participants (48%) are between 18-30 years-old, and according to marital status most of them married (74%) and (42%) with secondary school graduation. (62.4%) of the participants use the seat belt with almost the same percentage of military and civilian (62.7% and 61.9% resp.), the use of seat belt increased from (49.3%) to (97.4%) after the legislation came into force. More than a third of participants had been involved in road traffic accidents (RTAs), most of them with one RTA (53.4%), (38.6%) had been injured and (33%) admitted to hospital, and high speed was the main cause of their (RTA), (85%) of participants were strongly convinced about the importance of a seat belt, but when asked about the reasons for using seat belt only (38%) felt convinced, and half of them mention that they have a problem with the use of the seat belt. This is mainly the restriction of movement that the belt causes, the degree of knowledge about the importance of seat belt is moderate and (60%) thought the use of seat belts reduced the disabilities caused by RTAs.


This study revealed that 62% of the Medical Services Department of Armed Forces workers in Riyadh were using the seat belt. The compliance of seat belt use and the conviction about its importance increased with age and higher education. The use of seat belts increased among workers from 49% to 97% after the legislation came into force. The study found that 35% of the workers had been exposed to previous RTA, 38% had been injured and 33% had been admitted to hospital. About half of them 48% had not fastened the seat belt, and the majority of these RTAs were a result of high speed. The participants' knowledge about seat belt importance in reducing injuries and disabilities caused by RTA did not match their behavior.