The Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey is conducted biennially for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is a national telephone survey composed of two questionnaires, each administered to several thousand randomly selected persons age 16 and older. The Version 1 Questionnaire emphasizes safety belt issues while Version 2 emphasizes child restraint issues. The questionnaires also contain smaller modules addressing such issues as air bags, emergency medical services, and crash injury experience. For the 2003 survey, each questionnaire was administered to approximately 6,000 individuals.
NHTSA conducted the first Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey in 1994. Subsequent versions of the survey have included modest revisions to reflect changes in information needs. Thus, the 2003 survey contained numerous items from the earlier surveys, which allows the agency to monitor change over time in knowledge, attitudes, and (reported) behavior related to motor vehicle occupant safety. The 2003 survey also included new questions such as an item designed to determine the presence of new types of air bags, and an item that asked the likelihood that a deploying air bag would injure a passenger if the passenger was not wearing a safety belt.
The following report presents findings from the 2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey pertaining to air bags. Section 1 presents the 2003 results. Section 2 compares findings across years, from 1994 through 2003.
The 2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey was conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI), a national survey research organization. SRBI conducted a total of 12,377 telephone interviews among a national population sample. To reduce the burden on the respondents, the survey employed two questionnaires. A total of 6,180 interviews were completed in Version 1 and 6,197 were completed in Version 2. Although some questions were used in both versions (e.g., demographics, crash injury experience, safety belt use), each questionnaire had its own set of distinct topics. Each sample was composed of approximately 6,000 persons age 16 and older, including oversamples of persons ages 16 39. The procedures used in the survey yielded national estimates of the target population within specified limits of expected sampling variability, from which valid generalizations can be made to the general public.
The survey was conducted from January 8, 2003 to March 30, 2003. For a complete description of the methodology and sample disposition, including computation of weights, refer to the 2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey, Volume 1: Methodology Report. The report includes English and Spanish language versions of the questionnaires.
The percentages presented in this report are weighted to accurately reflect the national population age 16 or over. Unweighted sample sizes (“N’s”) are included so that readers know the exact number of respondents answering a given question, allowing them to estimate sampling precision (see Appendix A for related technical information).
Percentages for some items may not add to 100 percent due to rounding, or because the question allowed for more than one response. In addition, the number of cases involved in subgroup analyses may not sum to the grand total who responded to the primary questionnaire item being analyzed. Reasons for this include some form of nonresponse on the grouping variable (e.g., “Don’t Know” or “Refused”), or use of only selected subgroups in the analysis. Moreover, if one of the variables involved in the subgroup analysis appeared on both versions of the questionnaire, but the other(s) appeared on only one questionnaire, then the subgroup analysis was restricted to data from only one version of the questionnaire.