Strategies to increase seat belt use : an analysis of levels of fines and the type of law.

Nichols, J.L. Tippetts, A.S. Fell, J.C. Auld-Owens, A. Wiliszowski, C.H. Haseltine, P.W. & Eichelberger, A.

The main objectives of this study were to determine the relationships between seat belt use in the States and (1) the type of seat belt law enforcement (primary versus secondary), and (2) seat belt fine levels. The study examined law type and levels of fines as predictors of seat belt use for two time periods (1997 to 2002 and 2003 to 2008) using panel regression analyses. Two outcome measures were examined: seat belt use among front-seat occupants over age 8 killed in passenger vehicle crashes from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the observed statewide seat belt use of front-seat occupants in passenger vehicles. The results indicated that primary law upgrades were associated with 9- to 10-percentage-point increases in FARS use and 10- to 12-percentage-point increases in observed seat belt use. By comparison, increasing a State’s fine amount from $25 (the current median value) to $60 was associated with a nearly 4-percentage-point increase in both FARS and observed seat belt use. Alternatively, increasing the fine amount from $25 to $100 was associated with a nearly 7-point increase in use. (Author/publisher)

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20102008 ST [electronic version only]

Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Transportation DOT, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA, 2010, IV + 93 p., 18 ref.; DOT HS 811 413

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