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A cost benefit analysis of an enhanced seat belt enforcement program in South Africa
  1. G T Harris,
  2. I A Olukoga
  1. School of Economics & Management, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor G T Harris
 School of Economics & Management, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4041, South Africa;


Objective: To examine whether a program to increase the wearing of seat belts in a South African urban area would be worthwhile in societal terms.

Design: A cost benefit analysis of a one year enhanced seat belt enforcement program in eThekwini (Durban) Municipality.

Methods: Data were drawn from two main sources—a 1998 study of the cost of road crashes in South Africa and, given the absence of other data, a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of various types of interventions to reduce road crash casualties in the United States—and were analyzed using cost benefit analysis.

Results: A program designed to enforce greater wearing of seat belts, estimated to cost 2 million rand in one year, could be reasonably expected to increase seat belt usage rates by 16 percentage points and reduce fatalities and injuries by 9.5%. This would result in saved social costs of 13.6 million rand in the following year or a net present value of 11.6 million rand. There would also be favorable consequences for municipal finances.

Conclusions: Investment in a program to increase seat belt wearing rates is highly profitable in societal terms.

  • CBA, cost benefit analysis
  • NPV, net present value
  • UNIARC, University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Interdisciplinary Accident Research Centre
  • cost benefit analysis
  • developing countries
  • safety belts
  • seat belts

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