Occupant Protection

Occupant Protection - NHTSA's Occupant Protection Module

Evaluation of a High-Visibility Enforcement Seat Belt Program on the Blue Ridge Parkway - The National Park Service implemented a high-visibility seat belt enforcement program on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), involving low-cost media and strong enforcement partnerships, activity associated with significant increases in observed seat belt use on the BRP.

"Demonstration of the Trauma Nurses Talk Tough Seat Belt Diversion Program in North Carolina." U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: March, 2014. The results of this study support the combination of high-visibility enforcement and a diversion classroom-based brief intervention as a means of increasing seat belt use in a predominately rural, low-belt-use area. North Carolina has a primary belt law and relatively high fines and fees.

Strategies to Increase Seat Belt Use: An Analysis of Levels of Fines and the Type of Law.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: November, 2010. 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.

Solomon, Mark G., Robert H. B. Chaffe and David F. Preusser. “Nighttime Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws: An Evaluation of Three Community Programs.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: August, 2009. Programs to enforce seat belt laws at night were conducted in Asheville and Greenville, North Carolina and Charleston, West Virginia. Asheville used night belt use checkpoints in a primary belt law State. Greenville used saturation patrols.

Nichols, J. L. et al. “Evaluation of the Buckle Up in Your Truck Programs.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: June, 2009. In 2006 and 2007, all four States in NHTSA’s Region 7 participated a two-year Buckle Up in Your Truck program. Each year, the program consisted of a two-week, high-visibility, seat belt enforcement effort that preceded the National May Click It or Ticket (CLOIT) Mobilization.

Nichols, J. L. et al. “Evaluation of a County Enforcement Program with a Primary Seat Belt Ordinance: St. Louis County, Missouri.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: May, 2010. In March 2007, St. Louis County implemented a seat belt ordinance that allowed for traditional enforcement procedures. In order to increase usage on St. Louis County roads, particularly on roadways with fatal or disabling injury crashes, the St. Louis County Police Department conducted an intense high visibility enforcement (HVE) campaign along an 8-mile corridor on State Highway 21 in the southeastern part of the county.

Summary of Vehicle Occupant Protection Laws: Ninth Edition, Current as of June 1, 2010.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2011.

Vivoda, Jonathon, David W. Eby, Renee M. St. Louis and Lidia P. Kostyniuk. “A Study of Nighttime Seat Belt Use in Indiana.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: February, 2007. A direct observation study of nighttime seat belt use was conducted in Indiana surrounding the Click It or Ticket (May Mobilization) activities.

Tison, Julie and Allan F. Williams. “Analyzing the First Years of the Ticket or Click It Mobilizations.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: 2010. The objective of this report is to summarize the overall effects of these mobilizations over the period 2000 to 2006. This report explores changes in belt use and attitudes towards seat belt enforcement throughout the years. It examines whether those attitudes differ between States with primary and secondary seat belt enforcement and between States with high and low seat belt use rates.

"Seat Belt Use in 2011 – Use Rates in the States and Territories." Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: August, 2012.

Seat Belt Use in 2010 – Use Rates in the States and Territories.” Traffic Safety Facts – Crash Stats. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: July, 2011.

Seat Belt Use in 2009 – Use Rates in the States and Territories.” Traffic Safety Facts – Crash Stats. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: May, 2010.

Seat Belt Use in 2008 – Use Rates in the States and Territories.” Traffic Safety Facts – Crash Stats. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2009.

Seat Belt Use in 2008 – Demographic Results.” Traffic Safety Facts – Research Note. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: August, 2009.

Seat Belt Use in 2007 – Demographic Results.” Traffic Safety Facts – Research Note. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2008.

Glassbrenner, Donna and Jianqiang Ye. “Seat Belt Use in 2006 – Demographic Results.” Traffic Safety Facts – Research Note. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2007.

Click It or Ticket Seat Belt Mobilization Evaluation Reports.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: 2004-2007. Click It or Ticket (CIOT) programs are short-duration, high-visibility enforcement of seat belt laws. The first nationwide program was conducted in May 2003 followed by similar programs during May of each succeeding year.

Nichols, J. L., K. A. Kedingham and D. F. Preusser. “Effectiveness of the May 2005 Rural Demonstration Program and the Click It or Ticket Mobilization in the Great Lakes Region: First Year Results.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2007.

Van Houten, Ron, Bryan Hilton, Richard Schulman and Ian Reagan. “Using Haptic Feedback to Increase Seat Belt Use of Service Vehicle Drivers.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: January, 2011. This study pilot-tested a new application of a technology-based intervention to increase seat belt use. The technology was based on a contingency in which unbelted drivers experienced sustained haptic feedback to the gas pedal when they exceeded 25 mph. Although drivers could continue to drive unbelted and exceed 25 mph by pressing the pedal harder, they needed to exert constant mental and physical effort to do so. The feedback disappeared when drivers buckled.

Thomas, F. Dennis III, Richard D. Blomberg and Jonna Van Dyk. “Evaluation of the First Year of the Washington Nighttime Seat Belt Enforcement Program.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: December, 2010. The first year of evaluation reported here examined awareness of the campaign with a survey in driver license offices, observed seat belt use both day and night at 40 selected sites in five counties around the State, and the statewide annual observational surveys for 2007 and 2008.

Tison, Julie, Allen F. Williams and Neil K. Chaudhary. “Daytime and Nighttime Seat Belt Use by Fatally Injured Passenger Vehicle Occupants.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: July, 2010. The difference in day and night seat belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants was investigated by personal, environmental, and vehicle characteristics.

Van Houten, Ron, et al. “Pilot Tests of a Seat Belt Gearshift Delay on the Belt Use of Commercial Fleet Drivers.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: December, 2009. This study evaluated a device that prevented drivers from shifting vehicles into gear for up to 8 seconds unless the seat belt was buckled.

Decina, Lawrence E., William L. Hall and Kathy H. Lococo. “Booster Seat Law Enforcement: Examples from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: February, 2010. The objective of this study was to evaluate the implementation of State booster seat laws (enhanced child restraint laws) and examine the most effective strategies that law enforcement agencies can use to enforce booster seat laws.

Chaudhary, Neil K., Julie Tison and Tara Casanova. “Evaluation of Maine’s Seat Belt Law Change from Secondary to Primary Enforcement.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2010. This report observed the changes in seat belt use after Maine upgraded its seat belt law to primary enforcement on September 20, 2007.

Occupant Protection: Restraint Use.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC.

Nichols, J. et al. “Evaluation of Teen Seat Belt Demonstration Projects in Colorado and Nevada.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: September, 2011.

Guidelines to Observe and Estimate Statewide Seat Belt Use at Night.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: March, 2010. This report provides States with options regarding how to estimate statewide seat belt use at night. It also provides a detailed description of how to conduct night observations.

Decina, Lawrence E., Kathy H. Lococo, Warren Ashburn and Janelle Rose. “Identifying Strategies to Reduce the Percentage of Unrestrained Young Children.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: January, 2009. The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that contribute to nonuse of occupant restraints by children 5 through 7 years of age riding in motor vehicles, and to identify strategies to increase restraint use in this age group.

Nichols, J. L. et al. “A Rural Demonstration Program to Increase Seat Belt Use in the Great Lakes Region.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: March, 2009. Six States in the Great Lakes Region (Region 5) participated in a Rural Demonstration Program to increase seat belt use in rural areas and among high-risk occupants, such as young males and occupants of pickup trucks.

Blomberg, Richard D., F. Dennis Thomas, III and Arlene M. Cleven. “Innovative Seat Belt Demonstration Programs in Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wyoming.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: March, 2009. This report summarizes the activities and results of State-level demonstration projects supported by cooperative agreements from the NHTSA. The demonstration projects were intended to increase seat belt use statewide in low belt use States through innovative approaches.

Chaudhary, Neil K., Lori L. Geary, David F. Preusser and Linda A. Cosgrove. “Connecticut’s Day and Night Safety Belt Use: Final Report.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: September, 2005.

Solomon, M. G., N. K. Chaudhary and D. F. Preusser. “Daytime and Nighttime Seat Belt Use at Selected Sites in New Mexico.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: January, 2007.

Brittle, Christine and Michael Cosgrove. “Unconscious Motivations and Situational Safety Belt Use: Literature Review and Results from an Expert Panel Meeting.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: August, 2006. To explore whether unconscious defense mechanisms are an appropriate intervention point to encourage the full-time use of belts, NHTSA commissioned a literature review and expert panel meeting on the role of unconscious motivators in response to safety threats.

Masten, Scott. “The Effects of Changing to Primary Enforcement on Daytime and Nighttime Seat Belt Use.” Traffic Safety Facts – Research Note. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: March, 2007.

Occupant Protection Issues Among Older Drivers and Passengers.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: April, 2008. NHTSA initiated a three-stage research study in order to gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute to seat belt use or nonuse among people 65 and older. The first stage included a literature review; discussions with experts in the fields of aging, vehicle design, law enforcement, physical mobility and human factors; and analyses of several national databases. The final stage of the project was a human factors field study that provided detailed observation and measurement of seat belt use and acceptability among older occupants targeting comfort, convenience, and usability issues.

Kuhn, Michelle and Jed Lam. “Increasing Seat Belt Use Among 8- to 15-Year-Olds.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: May, 2008. The broad aim of this research project was to determine the nature and causes of non-use of seat belts among 8- to 15-year-olds, and to recommend interventions and strategic approaches to increase usage among this group.

Chaffe, R. H. B., M. G. Solomon and W.A. Leaf. “2006 Seat Belt Use Estimate for Native American Tribal Reservations.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: May, 2008.

Winston, Flaura K. and Danielle C. Erkoboni. “Identifying Information that Promotes Belt-Positioning Booster Use.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: July, 2008. This study aims to identify interventions that promoted booster seat use among parents with low educational attainment who prematurely graduate their children to seat belt restraint rather than use belt-positioning booster seats.

2007 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: 2007. The 2007 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey was the sixth in a series of periodic national telephone surveys on occupant protection conducted for NHTSA.

2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey.” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Washington, DC: 2003. The 2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey was the fifth in a series of biennial national telephone surveys on occupant protection conducted for NHTSA.

Air Bag Safety. Safercar.gov. This site offers important information to help you stay safe in a vehicle with air bags.