Seatbelt Use among Vehicle Occupants in Fatal Crashes in the United States: Does Vehicle Type and Age Affect Injury Outcome?

Studies have shown that occupant’s injury severity increases with vehicle age and older model year vehicles when a traffic crash occurs. But, does vehicle occupant restraint use play a role in the injury outcome? The primary objective of this study was to determine the relationship between adult vehicle occupant’s seatbelt use, vehicle type and age, and injury severity using crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Five-year crash data (2014 to 2018) were retrieved from FARS for all vehicle occupants involved in fatal crashes for 50 states and the District of Columbia. Chi-square analyses were conducted to test several hypotheses regarding adult seatbelt use. The results of the analysis showed a lower seatbelt use rate among occupants of older vehicles than occupants in newer vehicles. This finding was consistent across all the vehicle types: passenger cars, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicle (SUV)-Minivans. Regardless of how old the vehicle was at the time of the crash (i.e., 1-6 years, 7-11 years, 12-15 years, and > 15 years) and the type of vehicle involved, the seatbelt use rates were consistently lower among fatally injured occupants than those who suffered no or possible/severe injuries. The findings in this study are important for the development of seatbelt use intervention programs that are persuasive and have the greatest potential for effectiveness.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764413
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-03851
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:25AM