Strategies to Reach the Last U.S. Seat Belt Use Holdouts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 50% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes in 2021 were unrestrained, based on known restraint use. 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. 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. The failure of even a small percentage of vehicle occupants to use seat belts contributes to large numbers of deaths and serious injuries. The objective of this research is to design and conduct research on the remaining fraction of vehicle occupants who do not use seat belts, with the goal of identifying practical, actionable countermeasures that can be implemented by state highway safety offices (SHSOs) and their partners to motivate the last seat belt use holdouts to buckle up. To reach the holdouts, understanding underlying issues is critical.


  • 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: 20240408
  • 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