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Mobility & Transport - Road Safety
News article27 June 2024Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport1 min read

New report from the European Road Safety Observatory: focus on helmets, seatbelts and child restraint systems

Protective equipment such as helmets, seatbelts and child restraint systems have been shown to be very effective in protecting road users from death or serious injury. If used correctly, motorcycle helmets can reduce fatal crashes by around 40% and the chance of severe head injury by almost 70%. Similarly, bicycle helmets can reduce fatal injury to the head or brain by 71% on average. Seatbelts are shown to reduce the risk of fatal incidents by 60% for occupants in the front of a vehicle and 44% for those in the rear. For child restraint systems, research shows that children who are correctly restrained are around 60% less likely to be killed or injured compared to unrestrained children.

While compliance with legislation on drivers and passengers wearing a seatbelt is relatively high, some countries still face problems, particularly with passengers in rear seats. Compliance with rules on the wearing of motorcycle helmets is also relatively high, though again with exceptions in some countries. In contrast, bicycle helmets and child restraint systems have a high prevalence of incorrect or non-use.

Education programmes can help to promote the use of protective equipment but it is also important that legislation is enforced. The perceived chance of being checked or fined for incorrect or non-use of protective equipment is relatively low in most EU countries.


The EU has set a 50% reduction target for road deaths and serious injuries by 2030, as set out in the EU road safety policy framework 2021-2030.

Road traffic rules and their enforcement remain largely the responsibility of EU Member States. All EU countries have laws in place that mandate the use of motorcycle helmets for riders and passengers while EU law dictates the compulsory use of safety belts and child-restraint systems (Council Directive 91/671/EEC of 16 December 1991).

Today’s report is part of the Commission’s efforts to promote safe mobility across the EU. Research publications by the European Road Safety Observatory are published regularly, each focusing on a key road safety topic.

More information

Thematic report and Facts and Figures on protective equipment

Safety Performance Indicator report on protective equipment

About the European Road Safety Observatory

All thematic reports by the European Road Safety Observatory including recent ones on enforcement and pedestrians

Road Safety infographic: Focus on Protective equipment
General publications27 June 2024
Road Safety infographic: Focus on Protective equipment


Publication date
27 June 2024
Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport