Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

DOT HS 809 899

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Increasing Teen Safety Belt Use:
A Program and Literature Review

5. Report Date

September 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)
James C. Fell, Tara Kelley Baker, A. Scott McKnight, Katharine Brainard, Elizabeth Langston, Raamses Rider, David Levy,
Joel Grube

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation11710 Beltsville Drive, Suite 300Calverton, MD 20705Phone: 301-755-2700 Fax: 301-755-2799

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street, SW.
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report
(September 2003-February 2004)

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

Jennifer Beery Warren served as the Task Order Manager for this project.

16. Abstract

A comprehensive review of the scientific literature, State and Federal Government reports, and other sources of information was conducted to determine the magnitude of the problem of teen safety belt use and to identify and summarize programs, interventions, and strategies that can potentially increase safety belt use by teens. Nearly 270 documents were reviewed. Proven effective strategies that increase safety belt use in the general population may have the most immediate and greatest potential for increasing teen safety belt use. These include upgrading State safety belt laws to primary enforcement and conducting highly publicized enforcement of safety belt use laws. With regard to strategies targeting teens, graduated driver licensing laws that explicitly include requirements for safety belt use in all three phases of licensure and provide sanctions that prohibit “graduation” to the next licensing phase if there is a safety belt citation, may be very effective. It appears that community programs that combine education, peer-to-peer persuasion, publicized enforcement, and parental monitoring have some potential for increasing teen safety belt use.

Technological solutions hold promise for the future. Enhanced safety belt reminder systems appear to be effective for the general population. The effects of reminders, safety belt use monitoring devices, interlock devices and improvements in comfort and convenience on teen belt use need to be explored.

Combinations of strategies seem to work better than one strategy alone. A community program including education, diversity outreach, highly publicized enforcement, and parental involvement would likely have a substantial effect on teen belt use. However, these strategies would probably need to be sustained for the effect to last over time. While each strategy is not without barriers, careful planning, implementation and evaluation can result in effective programs and add greatly to our knowledge of teen safety belt use.

17. Key Words

Safety belts, teenagers, literature review, effective strategies, primary safety belt enforcement laws, highly publicized and visible enforcement, safety belt reminders, increased sanctions, graduated driver licensing, parental management

18. Distribution Statement

19. Security Classif. (Of this report)

20. Security Classif. (Of this page)

21. No. of Pages

22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)                             Reproduction of completed page authorized