This demonstration project examined the effects of strategies to increase seat belt use in a rural area. The project was conducted in Bertie County, North Carolina. A community seat belt program was headed by a broad-based coalition of county leaders. The program was divided into three core components: a school-based program, a program conducted through the workplace, and a general community campaign. Strategies included the use of incentives in combination with seat belt checking stations; public service advertising and promotions with local media; displays, presentations, and events; and frequent feedback to the community on belt use rates. Monthly observational seat belt data were collected. The findings of this study indicate that a community-based educational program can increase belt use among rural drivers: (1) During the seat belt program, belt use in Bertie County rose from 33% to 51%. The usage rate in the comparison site was largely unchanged with overall usage in the low 30% range throughout the program. (2) Increases were seen at all data collection sites - at the high school, the industries, the remote crossroads, and the main towns. (3) Increases occurred for both men and women, whites and non-whites, and drivers of cars and pickup trucks. A companion project, discussed in this report, surveyed program-area residents along with residents in a comparison high-belt-use rural area at the beginning and end of the program. Seat belt attitudinal surveys were implemented in Bertie County (the seat belt program site), Hertford and Northampton Counties (the comparison sites), and Moore County (high belt use rural area) at the high schools and at driver license stations during the summer of 1990 and again in 1991. The first survey responses were used to construct the Bertie seat belt program. The second survey responses were used to measure changes in responses that might be associated with increased belt use among rural residents. Analyses of survey responses indicated that, in general, belt knowledge was good at all sites. The high-belt-use population was more likely to indicate that they buckle up out of habit, while low-belt-use area residents were more likely to cite the possibility of getting a ticket as the reason for using restraints. High school students and pickup truck drivers in the low-belt-use areas were the groups whose responses were most resistant to seat belts. Belt knowledge and attitudes improved slightly at all sites by the second survey wave, with the program site realizing the most improvement.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  United States  27599

    North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program

    215 East Lane Street
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27601

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Hall, W L
    • Hunter, W W
    • Stewart, J R
  • Publication Date: 1992-4


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 92 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00626796
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HSRC-PR184
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-89-Z-05292
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 10 1993 12:00AM