Belief about seat belt use and seat belt wearing behavior among front and rear seat passengers in the United States
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Belief about seat belt use and seat belt wearing behavior among front and rear seat passengers in the United States

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Safety Res
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    Unrestrained drivers and passengers represent almost half of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the United States. The current study assessed the relationship between the belief about importance of seat belt use and the behavior of always wearing a seat belt.


    Data from 2012 ConsumerStyles were analyzed separately for front and rear passenger seating positions. Multivariable regression models were constructed to identify the association between seat belt belief and behavior (i.e., always wears seat belt) among adults. Models controlled for type of state seat belt law (primary, secondary, or none).


    Seat belt use was higher in front passenger seats (86.1%) than in rear passenger seats (61.6%). Similarly, belief that seat belt use was very important was higher in reference to the front passenger seat (84.2%) versus the rear passenger seat (70.5%). For the front passenger seat, belief was significantly associated with seat belt use in states with both primary enforcement laws (adjPR 1.64) and secondary enforcement laws (adjPR 2.77). For the rear passenger seat, belief was also significantly associated with seat belt use, and two 2-way interactions were observed (belief by sex, belief by region).


    Despite overall high rates of seat belt use in the United States, certain groups are less likely to buckle up than others. The study findings suggest that efforts to increase seat belt use among highrisk populations, such as those who live in states with secondary or no seat belt laws and those who ride in rear seats (which include people who utilize taxis or ride-hailing vehicles) could benefit from interventions designed to strengthen beliefs related to the benefits of seat belt use.

    Practical applications:

    Future research that uses a theoretical framework to better understand the relationship between beliefs and behavior may inform interventions to improve seat belt use.

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