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






Occupants of pickup trucks consistently have lower safety belt use rates than occupants of automobiles, vans and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). According to the 2002 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), the observed safety belt use rate among occupants of pickup trucks increased from 59 percent in 2000 to 69 percent in 2003. Yet this rate remains far below the overall national safety belt use rate of 79 percent in 2003 for all vehicles. Occupants of pickup trucks are at a higher risk for serious injury or death given their lower safety belt usage. "It has long been recognized that the proper use of occupant restraints is the simplest and most effective way of reducing injuries and saving lives available to drivers and passengers" (Solomon, Leaf, and Nissen, 2001, p.1).

There have been a number of private and public strategies to increase safety belt use nationally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed and promoted the Buckle Up America Initiative (BUA) to increase safety belt use. National safety belt use has increased when coordinated plans and efforts include: enactment of strong safety belt laws; enforcement of safety belt laws; expanded information and public education campaigns; and private and public partnerships. More recently, results from the Click It or Ticket campaign indicate that statewide safety belt use for drivers of all vehicle types increases with intensive enforcement of a State's safety belt law that is well publicized with paid advertising. Click It or Ticket conveys the simple direct message: wear your safety belt or you will get a ticket. The campaign works in both primary and secondary safety belt law States. Primary safety belt laws permit law enforcement personnel to stop drivers who are not wearing a safety belt just as they can with all other traffic laws. Secondary safety belt laws require law enforcement to first stop the vehicle for some other violation before issuing a citation for not wearing a safety belt.

NHTSA determined that more information was needed in order to design effective public information and education campaign messaging that would resonate with pickup truck drivers and passengers, to compliment statewide messaging efforts to reach the general population. The objectives of this report are to:

  • Identify safety belt use rates, fatality, and injury rates for pickup truck drivers and passengers;
  • Identify important characteristics of pickup truck drivers and passengers;
  • Inventory pickup truck safety belt laws and children in cargo area laws (as of 2000);
  • Review existing pickup truck public information campaigns;
  • Gather qualitative information about pickup truck drivers' knowledge and attitudes about information and educational campaigns; and
  • Make suggestions for the development of future campaign messages specific to pickup truck drivers.
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