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Tuesday, 2 November 1971
Page: 2808

Dr SOLOMON (DENISON, TASMANIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Does the Minister have available statistically reliable figures - and I emphasise the words 'statistically reliable' - showing the proportion of lives saved in automobile accidents by the use of seat belts relative to the proportion of lives spared by belts not being used? I have in mind the growing propensity of the States to make the wearing of seat belts compulsory, although the honourable member for

Macquarie would not have rejoined us today or, indeed, at any time, had he been subject to that compulsion; neither would my friend, the honourable member for Griffith be here.

Mr NIXON - There is today a strongly held view within the States that seat belts do aid in time of road accidents and I think they have taken as a basis for that the compilation of figures by the Snowy Mountains Authority on the accident rate within the Snowy Mountains. Personally, I am delighted that action has been taken by the States to legislate for the wearing of seat belts. Whilst there are as yet no clear proven statistics on the improvement in the road accident scene generally in Australia by the introduction of seat belt legislation, nevertheless I am satisfied that there is a greater consciousness psychologically among drivers, without taking into account the accident itself. For example, in Victoria there can now be seen a reduction in road deaths. The Victorian Government firmly believes that the introduction of seat belt legislation has had a little to do with those statistics. The Australian Transport Advisory Council has introduced a safety design rule for seat belts and seat belt fixtures. My Department is making a study of the accident rate since seat belt legislation was introduced in Victoria and I am hopeful that, by about June 1972, a paper will be prepared which will be the basis for a complete study and understanding of the use of seat belts in the future.

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