THINK! seat belts

Information and strategy of the THINK! seat belts campaign.



The Department for Transport has been promoting the use of seat belts since 1973, long before it became compulsory by law to use one. THINK! is continuing to work on reinforcing the message ‘always wear a seat belt’ to new generations of drivers and passengers.

The latest campaign ‘Three strikes’ re-frames the issue and demonstrates that even at low speeds and on familiar journeys you are vulnerable to a fatal crash. This is done by showing the dramatic consequences of not wearing a seat belt.

The latest campaign, ‘Three strikes’ is aimed at all drivers and passengers, with a particular focus on young men and women aged between 17 and 34. This group has the lowest wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate.

Research (conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory for the Department) suggests that the key problem lies with irregular seat belt wearing by the minority of the population. These people make conscious or unconscious decisions whenever they get in the car as to whether or not to wear a set belt. On familiar journeys at low speeds, for example, they are unlikely to see the need to wear a belt.

Endorsed by research as new news to the target audience, the TV advertisement demonstrates the ‘3 crashes in 1’ and the fatal injuries suffered, even at low speeds, this shows how the:

  • unbelted driver’s vehicle hits another car
  • the driver’s body hits the steering wheel and the windscreen
  • the driver’s internal organs smash against his frame and rupture

Key message

THINK! Always wear a seat belt.

Recent campaign activity

‘Three strikes’ aired for the first time in November 2008 with the latest burst in February 2010. This latest campaign used a mixture of TV, radio, cinema and outdoor advertising.

Seat belt crash simulator

An interactive seat belt crash simulator has been developed to support the advertising campaign. This interactive tool shows the type of injury that can happen in a crash, highlighting the risks of not wearing a seat belt. It can be set to different speeds and show different occupants in the car, illustrating the difference between wearing and not wearing a seat belt.

Visit the THINK! Seat belt page to view adverts and access ‘crash simulator’ game

THINK! Seat belt research