S. Dissanayake, A. Parikh
Even though mandatory seat belt laws have been widely regarded as one of the most effective ways of improving highway safety, some state agencies in the United States still struggle with passing primary seat belt laws that could save many lives. While average usage rates considerably vary among states with primary and secondary seat belt laws, there could be many other factors that affect usage rates in a given state. Accordingly, this study developed models to identify the factors that are determinants of state seat belt usage rates, which also quantified the effect of changing the law on state seat belt usage rate. Findings indicate not only the benefits of primary seat belt law, but also identify critical user groups for whom more focused education programs should be developed. Additionally, critical facility types were also identified using the developed models so that increased enforcement would bring the most effective results in terms of seat belt usage rate.
Keywords: highway safety; seat belt usage; primary seat belt law; secondary seat belt law