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China accounts for about 15% of the world’s total number of deaths from traffic accidents each year. Motor vehicle production has tripled since the 1990s and despite the availability of seat belts in almost all passenger cars in China and laws requiring restraint use, the habitual use of seat belts is low. With the human toll alone from road traffic injuries in China about 100 000 deaths per year, there is an urgency to implement such interventions in the major cities.

The seat belt intervention in Guangzhou utilized a novel blend of scientific expertise with practical approaches including enhanced law-enforcement practices, extensive social marketing, and health education. According to Mr Wu Guanghui of Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Public Security, “Activities to increase seat belt use, awareness and compliance have been implemented with great success. We accomplished significant improvements in Guangzhou city with seat belt law enforcement training for traffic officers in conjunction with the intensive enforcement program. The results have shown that enhanced police enforcement and road safety communication strategies contributed to raising the prevalence of seat belt use in the city and reducing road traffic injuries.”

Before the intervention, around half of all drivers/passengers in Guangzhou used seat belts. Mark Stevenson from the George Institute for International Health reports that, since implementation of the intervention, 62% …

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