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.

124 Results
Examination of Three Districts Implementing Stop Arm Camera Programs to Enforce Laws Against Illegal Passing of Stopped School Buses

This study included a literature review of stop-arm camera implementations in the United States; a detailed examination of stop-arm camera implementation in three school districts; and an analysis of previously collected camera-enforcement data from an additional 33 districts obtained from a camera vendor. The three districts in the study provided information about their experiences in implementing photo enforcement, including their experiences with legislation; reactions and experiences of their bus drivers; efforts to educate and inform the public; cooperation with law enforcement; successes and challenges in issuing citations and penalties; and lessons learned.

Indirect Effects of School Bus Seat Belt Installation

The project is a synthesis of the research findings, a literature review, and program scan summarizing data on the indirect effects of seat belts on school buses. Findings also include anecdotal observations from bus drivers and school district officials obtained from a concurrent NHTSA report, Education on Proper Use of Seat Belts on School Buses (Report No. DOT HS 812 999). Overall, findings indicate seat belt use is associated with improved student behavior and reduced bus driver distraction. Seat belt use is higher when required-use policies are in place, and that seat belt use is heavily reliant on the efforts of the bus drivers. A more-detailed study focusing on the indirect benefits experienced by a sample of school jurisdictions would better quantify the potential outcomes of school bus seat belts.

A Guide to Implementing Child Passenger Safety Inspection Stations

Brief Description:  Child passenger safety (CPS) inspection stations (also known as “car seat check locations” or “fitting stations”) and child passenger safety technicians (CPSTs) have been conducting child safety seat inspections for over 20 years. In 1997 NHTSA’s national training program to certify CPSTs and instructors was implemented. This guide is intended to define a CPS inspection station, examine the need for permanent CPS inspection stations, address the importance of building community support for CPS inspection stations, discuss the key elements of a successful CPS inspection station, and identify resources for implementing and maintaining CPS inspection stations.

High Visibility Enforcement and Seat Belt Use

High-visibility enforcement (HVE) is a traffic safety approach designed to deter unlawful behaviors and promote voluntary behavior change in accordance with traffic laws. HVE deters risky behavior by reminding motorists through communications and additional enforcement that they may be pulled over for illegal behaviors. Over the past two decades, traffic safety programs have used and evaluated HVE efforts to change many risky behaviors. This Traffic Tech summarizes evaluations of HVE effectiveness for seat belt use.

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.

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