Rural Pickup Truck Drivers and Safety Belt Use: Focus Group Report

   

 

Technical Report Page

Executive Summary

Introduction

Defining the Problem

Fatalities

Gender and Other Characteristics

Laws Pertaining to Children and Cargo Areas

Focus Groups: Background

Moderator's Guide and Topics of Discussion

Focus Groups: Findings

Focus Group Participants' Attitudes Toward Safety Measures

Focus Group Participants' Safety Belt Use

Focus Group Participants' Responses to Specific Reasons/Approaches

Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - English-Speaking Group

Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - Hispanic Group

Campaign Component Development - English-Speaking Group

Campaign Component Development - Hispanic Group

Conclusions

References

List of Tables

List of Figures

Appendices

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Focus Groups: Findings


The discussion of the focus group findings are grouped into the following general topics:

  • Overview of Pickup Truck Drivers' Attitudes about Safety Belts and Safety
  • Focus Group Participants' Attitudes Toward Safety Measures
  • Focus Group Participants' Safety Belt Use
  • Focus Group Participants' Response to Specific Reasons and Approaches
  • Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - English-Speaking Group
  • Focus Group Responses to Existing Campaign Approaches - Hispanic Group
  • Campaign Component Development - English-Speaking Group
  • Campaign Component Development - Hispanic Group
  • Reasons Given for Not Wearing Their Safety Belts

Overview of Pickup Truck Drivers' Attitudes about Safety Belts and Safety

  • Men from Georgia, Michigan, and Montana were found to be safety conscious about most work and household issues but not in regard to safety belt usage. Age played a role in safety consciousness but not in safety belt usage. For example, an older man is as likely as a younger man not to wear a safety belt.
  • Men from Georgia, Michigan, and Montana were somewhat more likely to wear a safety belt in a car than in a pickup truck primarily due to the presence of family members and children.
  • The majority of the participants in this study believed that safety belts were important relative to overall safety but found safety belts uncomfortable, restrictive, and an overall "hassle."
  • Focus groups participants said they typically did not wear their safety belt because they were skeptical about the benefits to them personally. Many said they feared that instead of helping them, a safety belt might cause harm by trapping them in their vehicle if they were involved in a crash.
  • All of the men were least likely to wear their safety belts on local roads and short trips especially if those trips involved a lot of in and out activities.
  • All of the men said they would most likely buckle up during inclement weather, when traveling on the highway or in the mountains, and when they see law enforcement.
  • All of the focus group participants were aware of safety belt laws and fines in their States but the law had little, if any, affect on their decision to wear safety belts each trip. The English-speaking Texas group, in particular, believed belt use should be an individual decision, expressing values of individuality and freedom, and were angry that the law mandates the use of safety belts.
  • Men in general, but young men in particular, were not afraid of dying in a crash. They were more afraid of being paralyzed or losing a limb.
  • The majority of Hispanic men reported that they did not wear a safety belt. The reasons given were: "desiria" or a neglectful or lazy attitude; an external locus of control which was expressed, for example, as: "God will have the ultimate say about my destiny"; and a lack of history or custom because they did not wear safety belts when they were children.
  • The Hispanic men said they were motivated to wear their safety belts out of fear of being caught by law enforcement and the stiff penalties that could result.
  • Most of the men from the eight focus groups prefer communication efforts that are as realistic as possible. Many suggested showing a man in a wheelchair next to his crushed vehicle saying something like: "They tell me if I had been buckled in, I'd have walked away from this. Instead, here I am. Don't let this happen to you."
  • Humor in the communication pieces was not appreciated and was often viewed as sarcasm. All of the men viewed safety and safety belt usage seriously - even though they don't wear one. The crash test dummies were often cited as being a humorous attempt to get people to pay attention to the issue of safety.
  • The use of numbers was questioned. Many men in each focus group were fairly cynical and believe numbers can be made to support anything anyone wants them to. They were skeptical of the quoted percentages, sometimes saying they thought they should have been higher or lower. If numbers are used, men responded more favorably to a format like "1 out of 3 " rather than expressed as a percentage, such as 33 percent.
  • All of the focus groups, with the exception of the Texas Hispanic group, did not view celebrity spokespersons as effective. They believe celebrities are paid to say whatever they are asked to say, which negates their credibility. Many of the men thought it highly unlikely that any of the celebrities used as examples in their group would actually drive themselves anywhere. The participants thought the celebrities would be chauffeured.
  • The Hispanic group, on the other hand, liked the celebrity spokesperson as one of their three favorite campaign approaches.
  • All of the men paid the most attention to television and radio advertising resembling everyday life. Images of family and children in the ads grabbed their attention -- the image of a wife and baby or a child blowing out candles. These images seemed to tug at heartstrings and made many of the men stop and think about what they have to lose.
  • The Hispanic participants were more influenced by the consequences to others for not wearing a safety belt. They said they were extremely family-oriented. Some said that when they were asked to visualize images where their children suffer because they, as parents, neglected to wear a safety belt, it caused a major shift in their attitude.
  • All of the men preferred campaign messages that described local crashes that occur when pulling out of the parking lot or on the way home from getting doughnuts. Typically they thought only of getting hurt in a highway crash.
  • The English-speaking men think that crashes should not be portrayed as too severe because the immediate impression is "It wouldn't matter if you were wearing a seat belt or not in that one. You're dead anyway."
  • In contrast, the Hispanic group in Texas reported that the Mexican newscasts they watch regularly depict bloody images and they do not believe they have an impact on viewers. They said that showing graphic consequences induces fear. These men thought that the "medical consequences" approach would motivate them if used to stress the importance of wearing safety belts.
  • The Hispanic participants indicated that there is a great need to provide traffic safety information and advertising in Spanish. The language barrier, or simply not fully comprehending English, causes some English messages to be ignored in the Hispanic community.

External locus of control is a research term meaning there is an outside source, like "god" or "a higher power," that determines the outcome or destiny.

   
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