Behaviors and Attitudes
NHTSA studies behaviors and attitudes in highway safety, focusing on drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. We identify and measure behaviors involved in crashes or associated with injuries, and develop and refine countermeasures to deter unsafe behaviors and promote safe alternatives.
Update to Special Report on Traffic Safety During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Third Quarter Data, Research Note, Traffic Safety Facts
This is an update to NHTSA's recent Special Reports examining traffic safety trends during the COVID public health emergency.
Education on Proper Use of Seat Belts on School Buses
NHTSA sponsored this project to understand how school districts that purchase large school buses with seat belts can maximize their effectiveness and benefit by improving proper usage. The project obtained observational data on the impact of seat belts on student behavior on buses and on bus driver distraction. It examined how policies were carried out by school bus drivers, and consequences for non-compliance. In general, the most important factors were training, education, and enforcement. Most survey respondents said seat belts on school buses contributed to calmer and less distracted environments for school bus drivers.
Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use, Traffic Tech
Ten percent of the U.S. population does not consistently wear a seat belt while driving, and a much larger portion admit to not consistently wearing seat belts when riding in the back seat or in other situations. Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey to investigate associations between self-reported seat belt use and 18 psychological constructs. This 2-page Traffic Tech gives an overview of two related reports: Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use Survey, Volume 1: Methodology Report and Volume 2: Results Report.
Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use, Volume 1: Methodology Report
The Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use survey was designed to “go beyond” demographic correlates of seat belt use (age, income, race) and identify psychological constructs that may help explain additional variance in seat belt use among the general U.S. population. The survey was administered in 2018 to a representative sample of U.S. residents 16 or older who reported driving or riding in a car in the past year. This volume, methodology, is the first of two describing the survey and the results. The other is the results report.
Psychological Constructs Related to Seat Belt Use, Volume 2: Results Report
Ten percent of the U.S. population does not consistently wear a seat belt while driving, and a much larger portion admit to not consistently wearing seat belts when riding in the back seat or in other situations. In this study, researchers conducted a nationally representative survey to investigate associations between self-reported seat belt use and 18 psychological constructs.
Awareness and Availability Of Child Passenger Safety Information Resources
Child restraint systems (CRSs) are effective in reducing the risk of child injury in motor vehicle crashes. Research shows that hands-on instruction demonstrating the installation and use of CRSs is effective in reducing misuse of CRSs. Child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) provide one-on-one instruction on the proper use and installation of CRSs at thousands of child car seat inspection stations nationwide. The Awareness and Availability of Child Passenger Safety Information Resources (AACPSIR) survey estimates the degree of awareness parents and caregivers have of CPST inspection stations. The study found that 67 percent of adults who drove children on a regular basis had heard of inspection stations. Drivers who transport children frequently indicated they were confident their CRSs were installed correctly. However, the AACPSIR survey found that 19 percent of children were not riding in the correct CRS for their height and weight. There were higher rates of improper selection in the 2- to 3-year and the 8- to 9-year age groups than among other ages.
Distracted Driving Enforcement Demonstrations: Lessons Learned
At any given daylight moment in 2015, approximately 542,000 drivers were using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving; bout 156.7 billion text messages were sent every month. There were 3,477 people killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and another 391,000 people injured. Of these 456 fatal crashes reported involving drivers with cell phones. This guide describes three NHTSA-funded enforcement demonstration programs conducted at six sites in Syracuse, New York, California, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and presents key lessons learned, along with insights and ideas for law enforcement agencies and State highway safety offices to consider as tactics for combating distracted driving using enforcement.
Buckle Up Owensboro: Implementation and Evaluation of the 2015-2016 Seat Belt Campaign in Owensboro, Kentucky
This study evaluates the process, outcome, impact, and sustainability of the Buckle Up Owensboro program. NHTSA and the Owensboro, Kentucky, Police Department designed the program to include sustained routine seat belt enforcement and Seat Belt Coalition activities to spread awareness of the importance of seat belt use. The program ran from mid-October 2015 to mid-October 2016. The evaluation found increased observed seat belt use associated with the 12-month program. To determine if the program could be sustained, the research team collected process, outcome, and impact data for the 6-to-12-month period following the program. Data showed a decline in observed seat belt use as program activity levels decreased. While the program was successful at increasing observed seat belt use, the evaluation suggests higher levels of program activity are needed to sustain the effects on observed seat belt use than were implemented in the post-program period.
Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use Rates Following Changes in Interlock Legislation
Ignition interlocks are effective at preventing driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol while installed on vehicles. However, the rate of interlock use is low relative to the numbers of DUI arrests and convictions, even in States that mandate interlock use for all DUI offenders. Accordingly, there is interest in identifying ways to increase interlock use, including by expanding the types of offenses for which an offender is eligible or required to use an interlock. This study examined how changes to interlock law affected interlock use in Florida and West Virginia. The study compared the number of new interlock installations, interlocks-in-place (interlocks currently installed), installations as a proportion of those eligible to use interlocks, and lack of use or low use of the vehicles with interlocks, before and after the States modified their laws. Florida data showed increases of 21.8% percent in all DUI offenders mandated to install; 69% percent in first offenders mandated to install; 122.3% percent more installations overall; and 27.8% percent more installations for first offenders mandated to install. West Virginia data showed an increase of 242% percent in interlock installations after a 2010 change in the interlock law, and an increase of 60% percent after a 2014 change to interlock law.
Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use Rates Following Changes in Interlock Legislation [Traffic Tech]
This Traffic Tech presents a summary of the final report of the same name under DOT HS 812 989.
For Access to older content please go to our archived Research page.