In the last five years, over 300 people who died in New Zealand crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
Most of those deaths were in 2016.
The Herald, partnered by the New Zealand Police has launched Belt Up - a four day series about seatbelt safety aiming to raise awareness and improve safety for all Kiwis on our roads.
Police say many of the 93 people who died in crashes last year while not properly restrained, could have survived had they been wearing a seatbelt.
Today we find out why people don't belt up.
Our message is simple.
Seatbelts save lives - Belt Up New Zealand.
The seatbelt safety message has been made very clear over the years - but there are still many people who do not take the time to belt up.
Why is that?
Why are people, to quote police, "playing Russian roulette with their lives" and failing to belt up or make sure their kids are properly restrained.
Professor Shanthi Ameratunga, co-director of the University of Auckland's Trauma and Injury Research Group told the Herald that the answer was "complex".
"Some people, and especially young people, may not see wearing a seatbelt as much of a personal risk at all times they are travelling in cars," she said.
"And if they are with others who are of a similar mindset and in situations where people have been drinking, the risks of not wearing a seatbelt and dying or getting disabled in a crash are magnified many times over."
Ameratunga said when it came to kids, lack of education played a big part in non-compliance.
"Some people are still unaware of the importance of having children in properly fitted car restraints that are appropriate for their age and height," she said.
"This is an area that requires a lot more effort so that communities have the knowledge as well as resources to make car travel safe for children of any age."
She said SafeKids Aotearoa, Plunket, and a range of Māori and Pacific agencies were "working hard" in this space.
"Car restraints for children and seatbelts more generally are inventions that have transformed what we can do in reducing road deaths," she said.
"Seatbelts can also be the difference between having lifelong disability from head injuries and major trauma to escaping with no or minimal injuries in the event of a road crash.
"Ensuring everyone who travels in cars wears a seatbelt or has an appropriately fitting car restraint (in the case of children) has obvious benefits, for themselves, as well as their families, health systems, and wider society."
Globally, the use of restraints is one of the top five areas being targeted by the United Nations Decade of Road Safety ending 2021.
"Given the statistics, people could be surprised about the number of people who still do not belt up," said Ameratunga.
"The answer is more complex than may be obvious."
• Safety belts save lives.
• They support you if you're in a crash or when a vehicle stops suddenly.
• The force on safety belts can be as much as 20 times your weight - this is how hard you'd hit the inside of your vehicle without restraint.
• Wearing a safety belt reduces your chance of death or serious injury in a crash by 40 per cent.
• Whether you sit in the front or the back seat, the risk of serious or fatal injury is virtually the same.
• NZ law requires drivers and passengers in cars and other motor vehicles to wear seat belts and child restraints.
• In the last five years, over 300 people who died in NZ crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
• Many of these people would still be alive today if they were safely wearing their seat belt.
(Source NZTA, MOT, NZ Police)