Factors Influencing Seatbelt Utilization in Louisiana and Strategies to Improve Usage Rate

Seat belts are credited with saving thousands of lives each year, yet a significant portion of the US population (about 13%) does not use a seat belt every time they are in a moving vehicle. Belt-use rates vary considerably from state-to-state. In 2014, seat belt use ranged from a low 68.9% in South Dakota up to a high 97.8% in Oregon. Nineteen states have belt use rates above 90%, but a majority of states, including Louisiana, have belt-use rates below the national average, which is about 87%. Previous efforts to increase seat belt use among part-time and non-users have had limited success among high-risk groups. Understanding why a motorist is not using a seat belt, e.g., various motivational factors affecting belt-use, is critical for developing targeted communication strategies and effective countermeasure programs. Thus, the primary purpose of this project is to determine factors influencing seat belt use in Louisiana in order to provide belt-use information about targeted groups of motorists so that the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC), the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), and other agencies may develop more effective and efficient seat belt messaging to reach these groups. Using secondary data analysis of citation data, roadside survey data, and crash data, the existing nature of seat belt use and enforcement in Louisiana is examined. To better understand why some people do not use seat belts 100% of the time, primary data was collected via survey research methods. Various sampling techniques were employed to achieve an over-sample of people reporting imperfect belt use. Findings indicate that despite a large number of citations being issued since 2004, many drivers continue not to use seat belts; however, these individuals are not easily categorized by traditional demographic factors. Rather than categorizing individuals as “users” and “non-users,” people tend to fall into one of four groups of belt users. Consistent belt use depends heavily on motivation, habit, and routine. A multistate sample comparing Louisiana drivers with drivers in other states suggests individuals with less-than-perfect belt use are similar across states.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 173p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01634998
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/LA.16/572, 41237-3
  • Created Date: May 19 2017 3:50PM