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TRANSPORTAT ION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2008 www.TRB.org N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP REPORT 601 Subject Areas Safety and Human Performance The Impact of Legislation, Enforcement, and Sanctions on Safety Belt Use James L. Nichols Vienna, VA A N D Katherine A. Ledingham PREUSSER RESEARCH GROUP, INC. Trumbull, CT Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed research provides the most effective approach to the solution of many problems facing highway administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transportation develops increasingly complex problems of wide interest to highway authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. In recognition of these needs, the highway administrators of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials initiated in 1962 an objective national highway research program employing modern scientific techniques. This program is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of the Association and it receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies was requested by the Association to administer the research program because of the Boardâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. The Board is uniquely suited for this purpose as it maintains an extensive committee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; it possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state and local governmental agencies, universities, and industry; its relationship to the National Research Council is an insurance of objectivity; it maintains a full-time research correlation staff of specialists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those who are in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators of the highway and transportation departments and by committees of AASHTO. Each year, specific areas of research needs to be included in the program are proposed to the National Research Council and the Board by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Research projects to fulfill these needs are defined by the Board, and qualified research agencies are selected from those that have submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Research Council and the Transportation Research Board. The needs for highway research are many, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program can make significant contributions to the solution of highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement rather than to substitute for or duplicate other highway research programs. Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at: http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America NCHRP REPORT 601 Project 17-33 ISSN 0077-5614 ISBN: 978-0-309-09912-7 Library of Congress Control Number 2007908484 Â© 2008 Transportation Research Board COPYRIGHT PERMISSION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing Boardâs judgment that the program concerned is of national importance and appropriate with respect to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. The members of the technical committee selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines appropriate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, and, while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical committee, they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or the Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the technical committee according to procedures established and monitored by the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the individual states participating in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of this report.
CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP REPORT 601 Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Crawford F. Jencks, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Charles W. Niessner, Senior Program Officer Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Margaret B. Hagood, Editor Maria Sabin Crawford, Assistant Editor NCHRP PROJECT 17-33 PANEL Field of TrafficâArea of of Safety Susan B. Herbel, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Heathrow, FL (Chair) Ronald Lipps, Maryland State Highway Administration (AASHTO Monitor) Edward B. Crowell, Georgia Motor Trucking Association Steve L. Eagan, New Mexico DOT Barbara Harsha, Governors Highway Safety Association, Washington, DC James Hedlund, Highway Safety North, Ithaca, NY Marsha Lembke, North Dakota DOT J. Scott Osberg, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, DC Robert L. Thompson, Iowa Governorâs Traffic Safety Bureau Terecia Wilson, South Carolina DOT Thomas Granda, FHWA Liaison Elizabeth A. Baker, NHTSA Liaison John E. Balser, Other Liaison Richard Pain, TRB Liaison C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S
This report summarizes the effectiveness of mandatory approaches to increase safety belt usage. The report will be of particular interest to safety practitioners with responsibil- ity for developing and implementing safety belt usage programs. Efforts to increase safety belt usage in the United States began with the introduction of lap belts in a small percentage of vehicles in the 1950s. By 1968, such devices were required in the front seats of all new passenger vehicles. In the 1970s, initial efforts to enact safety belt use (SBU) laws were unsuccessful. In 1978, the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminis- tration (NHTSA) initiated a behavioral approach. However, increasing safety belt usage proved to be a difficult task as it took more than 25 years to reach the current national usage rate of just over 80%. However, even at the relatively high rates in recent years (such as, observed daytime rates of 80% or greater), many high-risk motorists, including drinking drivers, motorists on the road during late-night hours, young males, drivers with violations and crashes on their record, and occupants involved in fatal crashes still do not buckle up. Future efforts to reduce fatalities and injuries involving unrestrained occupants will need to focus on such high-risk motorists. Under NCHRP Project 17-33, âEffectiveness of Behavioral Highway Safety Counter- measures,â Preusser Research Group summarized the effectiveness of mandatory approaches to increase safety belt usage consisting primarily of SBU use laws, enforcement efforts, and sanctions, from the perspective of what combinations of such actions might work best in todayâs environment to increase usage among high risk motorists. The report summarizes the actions to increase safety belt usage in three broad cate- gories: legislative activity, enforcement efforts, and sanctions. The first SBU law in the United States was enacted in New York in 1984. SBU legislation has provided consistent evi- dence of increases in safety belt usage and of reductions in fatalities and injuries associated with motor vehicle crashes. During the 1980s, several studies were conducted in Canada that showed significant increases in observed usage associated with enforcement. Highly visible enforcement efforts have been shown to have a significant impact on safety belt usage. The intensity of current efforts of paid media and enforcement has resulted in increases in national usage from about 71% in 2000 to 81% in 2006. Sanctions for safety belt violations have typically been minimal in comparison with penalties for other violations. In general, stop sign violations carry greater fine levels than nonuse of safety belts. There is relatively little research on the impact penalties for nonuse of safety belts, but there is consistent circumstantial evidence to suggest that increased penalties in the form of increased fines and points would result in increased safety belt usage. F O R E W O R D By Charles W. Niessner Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
C O N T E N T S 1 Summary 4 Chapter 1 Background 6 Chapter 2 Legislation 6 Initial Laws (1984â1992) 7 Findings Relevant to Current Efforts to Increase Usage 7 Usage Among Crash-Involved Occupants 7 Impact on Fatalities and Injuries 8 Primary Law Upgrades (1993â2006) 9 Impact on UPFC 9 Impact on Deaths, Injuries, and Associated Costs (based on UPFC) 11 Impact Based on Study Results Regarding Upgrades 13 Potential Impact of Future Upgrades 13 Summary of Legislation 14 Chapter 3 Enforcement 14 Canadian Influence 14 Daytime STEPs in Ontario 14 Nighttime Enforcement in Nova Scotia 15 A STEP and Incentive Program in Quebec 16 Background to U.S. Enforcement Efforts 17 Local Enforcement 17 Benchmark: Elmira, New York (1985â1986) 17 Subsequent Local Programs and Evaluations (1985â1999) 20 Findings Regarding Various Program Characteristics 22 Summary of Local Program Results 23 Statewide, Regional, and National Enforcement Programs 23 Benchmark: North Carolina (1993â1994) 23 Statewide Demonstration Programs (1993â1999) 25 Operation ABC Mobilizations (1997â2003) 26 State, Regional, and National CIOT Programs (2000â2006) 28 Model CIOT Programs (2002) 29 National CIOT Mobilizations 35 Cost Savings Estimates 35 North Carolina Benchmark 36 Immediate Versus Long-Term Impact 37 A Summary of the Impact of Safety Belt Enforcement Efforts 37 Local Programs 39 Statewide, Regional, and National Results and Trends
41 Chapter 4 Sanctions 41 The Importance of Penalties in Conjunction with Legislation 41 Fine Levels and Penalty Points 41 Current Fine Levels 42 Opinions of Nonusers 42 Opinions of Hard-Core Nonusers 42 Canadian Experience with Demerit Points 42 Reduced Damage Awards 43 Choosing Between Alternative Sanctions 44 Summary of Sanctions 45 Chapter 5 Conclusions and Discussion 45 Conclusions 46 Discussion 46 A Taxonomy Based on Observed Use Rates 47 A Taxonomy Based on FARS Usage and UPFC 50 References 53 Appendix A Calculations of Lives Saved, Number Involved in Fatal Crashes, and Overall Effectiveness of Safety Belts Against Deaths in 2005 55 Appendix B Calculations of Changes in UPFC Associated with the Primary/Standard Law Upgrades 57 Appendix C Issues and Findings Regarding Nighttime SBU and Enforcement 59 Appendix D Trends in Observed and FARS Use Rates in 15 States that Participated in Statewide or Regional HVE Programs 65 Appendix E Estimated Costs of Fatalities and MAIS 2â5 Injuries 67 Appendix F Distribution of States by 2005 Observed SBU (Horizontal Axis) and by 2005 Usage among Crash Victims (FARS Use) (Vertical Axis)