The 1998 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey was the third in a series of biennial national telephone surveys on occupant protection issues conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Data collection was conducted by the firm Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc., a national survey research organization. The survey used two questionnaires, each administered to a randomly selected national sample of about 4,000 persons age 16 and older. Interviewing began November 5, 1998 and ended January 12, 1999. This report presents the survey findings pertaining to seat belts. Detailed information on the survey methodology, as well as copies of the questionnaires, are contained in a separate NHTSA report ("1998 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey: Methodology Report"). More than three-quarters of drivers (79%) said they wore their seat belt "all the time" while driving, but 10% of these immediately said on a follow-up question that they did not use a seal belt while driving at least once in the past day or week. Adjusted measures of reported seat belt use based on these two questions closely matched observed seat belt use in a NHTSA national observation survey conducted about the same time. Reasons for non-use among part time users revolved around risk perception, while non-users cited discomfort or "other" considerations such as issues of personal freedom, concern about seat belts being dangerous, and the lack of an established habit. The vast majority of the public (86%) favored seat belt laws for front seat passengers, with 78% of these persons also supporting seat belt laws that applied to the back seat. Reported seat belt use was higher in standard (versus secondary) enforcement States, and higher for specific seating positions if persons believed that seating position was covered by the law. Blacks and Hispanics differed from whites and non-Hispanics both on questions regarding the perceived utility of seat belts, and their support for seat belt laws.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 229 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00795411
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-809 051
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-93-D-05135
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 27 2000 12:00AM