American Society of Civil Engineers

Opinions of Drivers on Seat Belt Use Based on Voluntary Responses

by Sunanda Dissanayake, (Department of Civil Engineering, 2118 Fiedler Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506. E-mail: and Abhishek Parikh, (Dowling Associates Inc.428 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95833. E-mail:
Section: Transportation Operations and Safety, pp. 1118-1127, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Transportation and Development Institute Congress 2011: Integrated Transportation and Development for a Better Tomorrow
Abstract: Even though the effectiveness of seat belts is widely known and accepted, seat belt usage remains relatively low in the United States. In addition to the type of seat belt law and associated enforcement practices, there seem to be many driver characteristics and behavior related to non-use of seat belts. Therefore, this study conducted road-user surveys in Kansas with the intention of identifying human factor-related issues that are playing a role in relation to seat belt use. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary even though an effort was made to cover as many groups as possible. Perceptions, attitudes, understandings, stated compliance levels, potential motivators, etc. of road users were obtained through the survey in order to suggest more effective countermeasures to improve seat belt use. Based on identified critical areas, more focused education and training programs need to be developed. In addition, enforcement levels need to be increased, specifically in areas where the most benefit in terms of seat belt usage could be achieved. It was however, interesting to observe that even drivers themselves agree that stricter laws, higher fines, and other penalties are helpful in increasing the self-discipline needed to wear seat belts more frequently.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Driver behavior
Traffic safety
United States