2.3 Sustained Enforcement
Some jurisdictions, including California, Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Washington, enforce their belt use laws vigorously as part of customary traffic enforcement .
Use: The extent of vigorous sustained belt law enforcement, with or without extensive publicity, is unknown.
Effectiveness: There are few studies of the effectiveness of sustained enforcement (Hedlund et al., 2004). California and Oregon, States that are reported to use sustained enforcement, have recorded statewide belt use well above national belt use rates since 2002 (seat belt use rates for 2002 to 2019 - California: 91 to 96% and Oregon: 88 to 96% versus nationwide: 75 to 91%) (NCSA, 2007: NCSA, 2020a).
Nichols and Ledingham (2008) conducted a review of the impact of enforcement, as well as legislation and sanctions, on seat belt use over the past two decades and concluded that sustained enforcement (implemented as a component of regular patrols or as special patrols) is as effective as “blitz” enforcement (short-term, HVE) and unlike blitz campaigns, is not usually associated with abrupt drops in belt use after program completion.
Costs: Sustained enforcement may require funds for publicity. As with short-term, high- visibility enforcement programs, publicity costs will depend on the mix of earned and paid media.
Time to implement: Sustained enforcement by LEOs can be implemented once the LEA develops and implements a sustained seat belt enforcement plan. Extensive publicity will take 3 or 4 months to plan and implement initially, but this time will decrease once the program has been implemented for some period of time.