Behaviors and Attitudes

Resources

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.

Our recently published reports are listed chronologically below. To the right are additional resources including Behavioral Research Notes and Traffic Techs.

107 Results
Evaluation of Correct Child Restraint System Installation

This research project used an experimental design, called an “incomplete factorial” type, with a convenience sample of 75 novice and 75 experienced child restraint system (CRS) users to test whether user experience, child’s age/weight/height, vehicle characteristics, and CRS characteristics are associated with installation errors. This study identified conditions related to correct and incorrect CRS use to inform programming and education with the goal of increasing correct use. The results help frame the target population for programming and education as not only novice users, but also experienced users, as the study did not find a significant difference in errors by experience.

The Role of Law Enforcement in Supporting Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: An Idea Book

This “idea book” provides ideas and suggestions based on shared evidence around effective roles that law enforcement personnel can take in pedestrian and bicyclist safety programs and practices. It also serves as a framework for integrating a pedestrian and bicyclist safety program with law enforcement agencies by focusing on training, crash data reporting, identifying goals with partners, collaborating with traffic engineers, engaging the community, and measuring programs and plans. It can help States, local communities, law enforcement, and political support enforcement in addressing pedestrian safety.  Research studies show that law enforcement efforts are effective when properly implemented to affect the reduction of traffic related fatalities.

Older Drivers’ Self-Regulation and Exposure

This project examined relationships among older drivers’ functional abilities as assessed by a clinical test battery, behind-the-wheel (BTW) driving performance during an on-road evaluation, and naturalistic driving behaviors captured by video and tracking devices over a month of driving. The goal was to gain insights into the extent to which older adults modify their driving behaviors as their functional skills decline. Many of the functional assessment measures predicted performance on the BTW evaluation. Analyses of the exposure data showed that many participants with poorer functional and BTW scores limited their driving. The findings suggest that many people who experience functional declines regulate when and where they drive; however, some of those with the poorest functional and/or BTW scores did not appear to limit their driving.

The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey: Child Passenger Safety Report Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech briefly summarizes findings from the 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey (MVOSS), NHTSA’s seventh periodic national survey on occupant protection issues. It consisted of two questionnaires, one administered to a nationally representative sample of approximately 12,000 people that included questions about child passenger safety. The second questionnaire of 5,410 completed questionnaires.

Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report

The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey used address-based sampling with a multi-mode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States adults 18 and older. This volume is third in a series of four volumes describing the survey and the results and discusses findings about child passenger systems and how people use car seats, booster seats and seat belts for children up to age 12. The other MVOSS reports are Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; and Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics.

2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey Volume #1: Methodology Report

The 2016 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey (MVOSS) used address-based sampling with a multi-mode methodology to produce nationally representative estimates of self-reported behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge related to various motor vehicle occupant safety topics among United States adults 18 years and older. The current report is the first in a series of four volumes describing the survey and the results: Volume 1: Methodology Report; Volume 2: Seat Belt Report; Volume 3: Child Passenger Safety Report; and Volume 4: Emergency Medical Services, Crash Injury Experience, and Other Traffic Safety Topics Report.

Analysis of SHRP 2 Speeding Data - Findings Report

This report is a companion report to the Findings Report from the same study (Richard, Lee, Brown, & Landgraf, in press) and describes the methodologies and datasets used to prepare a set of data reductions that supported analyses of speeding behavior. It is a guide to insights for researchers navigating Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) data acquisition and processing. It focuses on methods used to obtain and process trip time-series data, prepare data reductions to extract free-flow episodes and extract speeding episodes. The workflow for preparing the data reductions consisted of three components: data acquisition, data management, and data processing. Lessons learned during the conduct of the research are provided.

Analysis of SHRP2 Speeding Data, Traffic Tech

This Traffic Tech summarizes the research from an investigation of driver speeding behavior using the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study data. Situational and driver-specific predictors of speeding were examined using descriptive statistics and regression analyses. In addition, speeding episodes were used to identify different types of speeding and to develop a typology of speeders. Five types of speeders were identified, and these groups differed in terms of their aggregate speeding behavior, demographic characteristics, and attitudes about speeding and risk taking.

Analysis of SHRP2 Speeding Data: Methods Used to Conduct the Research

This report is a companion report to the Findings Report from the same study (Richard, Lee, Brown, & Landgraf, in press) and describes the methodologies and datasets used to prepare a set of data reductions that supported analyses of speeding behavior. It is a guide to insights for researchers navigating Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) data acquisition and processing. It focuses on methods used to obtain and process trip time-series data, prepare data reductions to extract free-flow episodes and extract speeding episodes. The workflow for preparing the data reductions consisted of three components: data acquisition, data management, and data processing. Lessons learned during the conduct of the research are provided.

Characteristics and Predictors of Occasional Seat Belt Use using Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Data

Despite the recent trend towards higher national seat belt use rates, NHTSA estimates that 10 percent of drivers still only use seat belts occasionally. This study examined occasional seat belt use among participants in the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study. Its exploratory research had the objectives of identifying factors that differentiate seat belt user groups, and identifying impact of situational factors in seat belt use patterns of occasional seat belt users. Seat belt use data was available for 895 SHRP2 participants, and researchers examined belt use within and across each driver’s trips. Two types of occasional seat belt users were those who made pre-trip decisions to buckle or not buckled for the entire trip, and those who made a within-trip decision to buckle or unbuckle for part of the trip.

For Access to older content please go to our archived Research page.