S. Dissanayake, A. Parikh
Increasing seat belt usage among motor vehicle occupants is considered one of the most effective ways of reducing negative effects of motorization in terms of fatalities. Even though the effectiveness of seat belts is widely known and accepted, seat belt usage remains relatively low in the United States. In addition to types of seat belt laws and associated enforcement practices, there seem to be many human factors related to nonuse of seat belts. Therefore, this study conducted road-user surveys with the intention of identifying human factor-related issues that are playing a role in relation to seat belt use. Perceptions, attitudes, understandings, stated compliance levels, potential motivators, etc. of road users were obtained through the survey in order to suggest more effective countermeasures to improve seat belt use. Based on identified critical areas, more focused education and training programs need to be developed. In addition, enforcement levels need to be increased, specifically in areas where the most benefit in terms of seat belt usage could be achieved. It was however, interesting to observe that even drivers themselves agree that stricter laws, higher fines, and other penalties are helpful in increasing the self-discipline needed to wear seat belts more frequently.
Keywords: seat belt use; seat belt laws; human factors; driver behavior; road user surveys