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The campaign targets non-wearing of seatbelts by rear seat passengers. The most recent RSA observational study of seat belt wearing rates indicates that while compliance is 94% for drivers and front seat passengers, only 89% of rear seat passengers were observed wearing a seat belt.

What do you think will happen?

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) produced a campaign aimed at increasing seat belt compliance, particularly among rear seat passengers. The advice is to everyone travelling in a car, whether driving or as a passenger, to ensure they are wearing a seat belt before they set off. 

The impact of non-wearing of seat belts was shown in analysis conducted by the RSA of all rear seat passengers involved in fatal collisions that occurred over the period 2008-2012*. Of the rear passengers not wearing a seat belt 45% were killed, and 55% survived, while of the rear passengers who were wearing a seat belt, 22% were killed, and 78% survived.

Having analysed rear seat fatalities in passenger cars from 2009 to 2017 and where seat belt wearing is known, 42% were not wearing a seat belt. **

That is why the RSA developed a campaign encouraging drivers to ask your passengers, both in the front and rear seats, to put on their seat belt before setting off. As the driver of the car, you have the power and authority to tell anyone travelling with you to belt up.

In developing the campaign, the RSA conducted research into the usage and attitudes towards the wearing of seat belts amongst young adults under the age of 35 years. The research found that forgetting to put on a seat belt is the main reason given for not wearing one. But the simple act of asking will fix this with the majority of under 35s saying they would put on a seat belt if their friend asked them to do so.

In the TV edit we see a friend go through that awkward social moment of asking a friend to put their seatbelt on.

We see how they imagine their friend might react – we see them imagining their friend getting angry, emasculating him, the other mates in the car turning on him, and the request being met by total silence…

It opens on a real-life car trip, with four mates getting into the car. They’re in a car park, and there’s some brief establishing banter. They’re about to set off.
A title reads: What do you think will happen if you ask your mates to wear their seatbelt?

It cuts to the driver, who turns around before starting the car, and asks simply: “Mate, would you mind putting your seatbelt on?”
It cuts to his imagination.  We see how he imagines his friend might react in a fast cut series of alternative dream realities.

It cuts to the back seat and see that his mates are dressed like in MMA gear. It cuts quickly back to the front, and we see that he’s suddenly dressed up like their mother. Oddly-timed canned laughter bewilderingly fills the car.

The friends then turn in to court judges. With a booming: “Overruled” one of them brings down a massive gavel on top of our question-asker.
Then, the tone changes. Without dwelling on it, we take a quick glimpse into a less jokey scene. In a final, very pointed scene, we see his friend look at him square in the face, before flying forwards, as though he is actually in a car crash without wearing a seatbelt.

He violently jerks forward – thrust forward with the speed and force of a collision - about to headbutt his friend. The look on his face has a pained, ambivalent quality – at turns angry, frightened, apologetic, braced. It cuts out before he makes contact, leaving the impact in the viewer’s mind’s eye. It’s symbolic of both what the question-asker feels the reaction to the question might be – i.e. an angry headbutt, but it’s also a reminder that if he doesn’t wear one, this is the awful, tragic response. A reminder that what we’re joking about also has very serious results.

We see the question again: “Mate, would you mind putting your seatbelt on?”

The friend in the backseat just says: “Sure mate, no bother”.

A title reads: No-one ever died asking their mates to wear their seatbelt. Every time, every trip, everybody belt up.

The 50 second TV ad titled 'What do you think will happen?', plays on the fears of a young male at that awkward moment where he has to ask his friend to put on a seatbelt. It airs from Monday 19 August across TV, cinema and video-on-demand and radio will air later in the campaign.

*Pre-crash Behaviour Study on Fatal Collisions 2008-2012
**Provisional and subject to change; rear seat belt wearing known in 74 cases.

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Analysis of rear seat fatalities in passenger cars from 2009 to 2017 and where seat belt wearing is known, 42% were not wearing a seat belt. (Provisional and subject to change; rear seat belt wearing known in 74 cases.)