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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.



139 Results
Title
 

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 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.

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.

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 [Traffic Tech]

This Traffic Tech presents a summary of the final report of the same name under DOT HS 812 989.

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.

Quantifying Drowsy Driving – Traffic Safety Facts - Research Note

According to NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, drowsy driving was a contributing factor in 775 deaths in 2018, or 2.1% of total fatalities involving motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways. However, statistics, likely underestimate the extent of the drowsy driving problem. The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety estimated the percentage of fatal crashes that involved a drowsy driver at 21%. This Research Note explores the feasibility of using machine learning algorithms to identify drowsy driving episodes in large-scale naturalistic driving datasets. The Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) collected data from more than 3,400 participating drivers in six States, yielding time series data for more than 5 million trips. The SHRP2 NDS database contains vehicle variables and video data, including a view of the driver’s face.

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