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





Laws Pertaining to Children in Cargo Areas

Twenty States allowed persons, regardless of age, to travel in the cargo area of a pickup truck at any time. Twenty-five States, shown in Table 6, had laws making it illegal for children to ride in the cargo area of pickup trucks, even when all seats are occupied. Seven of these States only prohibit children under certain ages, as shown. A common exception is to allow children to ride in the cargo area if all the seats of the pickup truck are occupied.

Fifteen States had publicized the “Kids Aren't Cargo” campaign, as of November 2000. Appendix E lists detailed information about each State's cargo area laws and educational campaigns.

Table 7

States Which Prohibit Children Riding In Cargo Area (as of 2000)


North Carolina



Florida (under age 6)



Rhode Island

Hawaii (under age 13)

South Carolina (under age 6)


South Dakota (under age 5)




Texas (under age 12)



Maryland (under age 16)




Nevada (under age 5)

Puerto Rico

New Jersey


Summary of Public Information and Education Programs

Questions about public information and education programs targeted to pickup truck safety were sent to each Governor's Office of Highway Safety for the 50 States, District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Eighteen States reported that they had targeted pickup truck occupants with public information, education, and/or enforcement campaigns about safety belt usage. Of these 18 States, seven plan to develop more pickup truck campaigns in the future. Nearly half of the 50 States have never tried nor intend to specifically target the pickup truck occupant population through safety campaigns. See Appendix B for more detailed information about the findings.

Five States provided samples of campaign materials that they have used. The campaign materials included: radio scripts, bumper stickers, posters, television video, radio cassettes, and pamphlets. Materials from the five States were used during the subsequent focus group sessions and are described in the next section of this report. The goal was to gather information that would be useful to other States in persuading pickup truck drivers and their passengers to wear their safety belts.


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