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



Technical Report Page

Executive Summary


Defining the Problem


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



List of Tables

List of Figures





Gender and Other Characteristics

Male occupants of pickup trucks between the ages of 20 and 59 years old were more likely to be involved in fatal collisions when compared with women occupants of pickup trucks. In passenger cars, with the exception of the 20 to 29 year old age group, the percent of men and women involved in fatal crashes were relatively the same. Detailed information about fatal crashes, age, and gender differences for pickup truck occupants and passenger car occupants is presented in Appendix C.

Note: While the above notes the latest figures for FARS data, the NOPUS (2002) figures continue to reflect that safety belt use rates among male pickup truck drivers between the ages of 16-69 remain a focal point because of their lower usage rate (63-64 percent) compared with 72 percent within the age categories of 8-15 and 70 and older. (Source: Safety Belt Use in 2002- Demographic Characteristics, March 2003, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, DOT HS 809 557.)

Summary of State Safety Belt Laws as of November 2000

Information about State safety belt laws was gathered from a variety of sources. Each State's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver's manual was reviewed to determine what information is provided to drivers about each State's safety belt laws (as of November 2000). Also, State web sites were searched for information regarding safety belt laws. In addition, State Governors' Highway Safety Representatives were contacted.

Exemptions in State Safety Belt Laws

Many States allow legal exemptions to their occupant protection laws. Also, States vary regarding the legality of whom is responsible for passengers' use of safety belts. The following exemptions are common across States:

  • A physician has certified in writing that the use of safety belts is inappropriate for the person, with the nature of the condition stated;
  • The person is a rural mail carrier of the US Postal Service operating a motor vehicle in the performance of employment, usually from first stop to last stop;
  • The person is a driver or passenger frequently stopping and leaving the motor vehicle or delivering property from the vehicle;
  • The person is the operator of agricultural equipment;
  • The person is a member of the emergency personnel of an emergency motor vehicle or a passenger in an emergency vehicle;
  • The motor vehicle the person is occupying is a bus or taxi or other vehicle for hire; and
  • The vehicle was not manufactured with safety belts.

As of November 2000, when this project was initiated, and this task within the project was completed, four States had laws that were different for pickup truck occupants as compared with other passenger vehicles. The States were Georgia (exempts pickup trucks altogether), Indiana (exempts trucks), Missouri (exempts trucks greater than 12,000 pounds, and occupants in cargo beds when all seats are occupied and vehicle is only means of immediate family transportation), and Oregon (exempts trucks greater than 8,000 pounds and not considered to be a commercial vehicle). Additionally, New Hampshire does not currently have an adult safety belt law. Appendix D lists details of each State's occupant protection laws and enforcement protocols as of November 2000, which is when this section of the research was completed. Again, on the basis of the laws at this time and other factors determined by the researcher and NHTSA, focus group site selection was determined in order to complete the intent of this project.

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