• May 26th, 2020

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that despite the recent trend towards higher national seat belt use rates, 10% of drivers still only use seat belts occasionally. The current study examined occasional seat belt use among participants in the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study. The study was exploratory research with the specific objectives of: (1) identifying individual factors that differentiate seat belt user groups, and (2) identifying the impact of situational factors in seat belt use patterns of occasional seat belt users. Seat belt use data were available for 895 SHRP2 participants, and researchers examined belt use within and across each driver’s trips. Approximately 10% of study participants were clearly occasional seat belt users. The data provided evidence for two types of occasional seat belt users: those who made a pre-trip decision to buckle or remain unbuckled for the entire trip, and those who made a within-trip decision to buckle or unbuckle for part of the trip. Occasional seat belt users were more likely to be older and male, in addition to differing across several other demographic and psychological variables. Situational factors, such as trip distance, average speed, and start-time also predicted occasional seat belt use.

Read the full study here.

Study performed by Battelle Memorial Institute and Dunlap and Associates, Inc. Study sponsored by the Office of Behavioral Safety Research, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.