How to Reach the Last of the Seat Belt Use Holdouts

Buckling up is the single most effective thing drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves from death or serious injury in a motor vehicle crash. Seat belt use in passenger vehicles is estimated to save more than 10,000 lives annually in the United States. And although most Americans seem to understand the lifesaving value of seat belts – the national seat belt use rate was at 91.6% in 2022 – large numbers of vehicle occupants still do not buckle up. This project will design and conduct research on the remaining fraction of Americans who do not use seat belts, with the goal of identifying practical, actionable countermeasures that can be implemented by state highway safety offices and their partners to motivate the last seat belt use holdouts to buckle up. To reach the holdouts, understanding underlying issues is critical. The research should include a focus on state and regional data in order to develop customizable and scalable countermeasure approaches, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach. Potential research methods may include survey and focus groups to gather data about low restraint use groups, including reasons why they are not buckling up, and insights into motivational and environmental factors that could lead to more effective occupant protection public outreach, traffic enforcement, and informational/educational programs.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project BTS-35

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Start Date: 20231108
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01896309
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project BTS-35
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 16 2023 8:23PM