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.
NHTSA’s recently published reports are listed chronologically below. To the right are additional resources including Behavioral Research Notes and Traffic Techs. The most recent Behavioral Research Note is dated October 2017. The most recent Traffic Tech is dated September 2017.
Functional Safety Assessment of a Generic Accelerator Control System with Electronic Throttle Control in Gasoline Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles
This report describes research to derive safety requirements related to the failures and countermeasures of the accelerator control system (ACS) with electronic faults, such as errant electronic throttle control (ETC) signals, following an industry process standard, specifically identification of safety requirements for ACS/ETC systems in motor vehicles powered by gasoline engines. It follows the Concept Phase process of ISO 26262 and applies Hazard and Operability study, Functional Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, and Systems Theoretic Process Analysis methods. It identifies 5 vehicle-level safety goals and 179 ACS/ETC system safety requirements (an output of the ISO 26262 and STPA processes). It observes opportunities to improve the risk assessment approach in ISO 26262. DOT HS 812 557.
Impaired Driving Leadership Model: Findings Based on Three State Case Studies - Report
This report describes case studies of the Impaired-Driving Leadership Model implemented by New Mexico, Washington State and Oklahoma. Each case study highlights the process that led to each model’s implementation, elements of the model’s structure, key components of its operation, and observed impacts following implementation. The report also identifies common and distinguishing elements of each model, lessons learned, and recommendations for other States considering implementing the model. The report indicates improvements (declines) in impaired-driving fatalities over time following implementation.
Teen Driver Monitoring Technology, Traffic Tech, Technology Transfer Series
Studies have shown that event-triggered feedback interventions can improve young novice drivers’ driving safety. This report describes two studies of effects of the feedback systems on teen risky driving behaviors. One focused on feedback that included video of risky events as compared to a system that did not include video feedback. The other study explored feedback on teens who began independent driving younger than 16 versus those 16 or older when they began driving independently. Data recorders captured 5,675 events in the first study, of which 3,332 or 58.7 percent indicated unsafe driving with either an unsafe event or behavior. The second study captured 6,671 events of which 5,448 or 81.7 percent indicated unsafe driving. Teens receiving feedback had rates of unsafe driving ranging from 1/6 to 1/3 times the rates of those without feedback.
Pedestrian and Bicyclist Data Analysis (Research Note)
This Research Note presents fatality and injury data for pedestrians and bicyclists, and identifies similarities and differences between these two types of non-motorist road users. The first section examines long-term trends for both pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities over 35 years, from 1980 to 2015. It focuses on fatality numbers and percentages, gender and age, and considers changes that have taken place over time. The second section examines characteristics of both pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities including urban or rural locations, hours of the day, light conditions, month of the year, day of the week, and non-motorist actions prior to the crashes.
Evaluation of Teen Seat Belt Demonstration Projects in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas
Four States in NHTSA’s Region 6 began multi-wave teen seat belt demonstration projects in May 2009. They conducted four waves of paid media and law enforcement activities over the following year. Two of these waves were conducted immediately prior to statewide Click It or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt mobilizations (May 2009 and May 2010), and two were conducted independent of CIOT mobilizations. Enforcement and media indices indicated that these were strong programs. Awareness surveys conducted in three of the States indicated that media efforts and law enforcement agencies successfully reached the teen population in two States (Mississippi and Texas). Teen seat belt use increased in all four States, but only in Mississippi did teen belt use increase substantially more in the program than control area. The results of this evaluation were similar to those found in previous teen-focused demonstrations in Colorado and Nevada.
Countermeasures That Work: Ninth Edition, Traffic Tech, Technology Transfer Series
This 9th edition of Countermeasures That Work is a basic reference to assist State Highway Safety Offices in selecting effective, evidence-based countermeasures for traffic safety problem areas. These areas include: Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving; Seat Belts and Child Restraints; Speeding and Speed Management; Distracted and Drowsy Driving; Motorcycle Safety; Young Drivers; Older Drivers; Pedestrians; and Bicycles. The guide describes major strategies and countermeasures that are relevant to SHSOs; summarizes strategy/countermeasure use, effectiveness, costs, and implementation time; and provides references to the most important research summaries and individual studies.
Countermeasures That Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasures Guide, Ninth Edition,
2017: This 9th edition of Countermeasures That Work is a basic reference to assist State Highway Safety Offices in selecting effective, evidence-based countermeasures for traffic safety problem areas. These areas include: Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving; Seat Belts and Child Restraints; Speeding and Speed Management; Distracted and Drowsy Driving; Motorcycle Safety; Young Drivers; Older Drivers; Pedestrians; and Bicycles. The guide describes major strategies and countermeasures that are relevant to SHSOs; summarizes strategy/countermeasure use, effectiveness, costs, and implementation time; and provides references to the most important research summaries and individual studies.
Additional Analysis of National Child Restraint Use Special Study: Characteristics Of Those Not Restrained (Research Note)
The National Child Restraint Use Special Study recorded the use of car seats and belt-positioning booster seats in children up to 8 years old in 4,167 vehicles. This report describes the examination of unrestrained drivers, drivers who report having ever driven with unrestrained children, and drivers transporting unrestrained children. Of drivers in the study, 129 were unrestrained; 725 had driven with unrestrained children; 51 percent said that a “short trip” was the reason.
Evaluation of Nighttime Seat Belt Enforcement Demonstration Program And Identification of Characteristics of Unbelted High-Risk Drivers
The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a high-visibility nighttime seat belt enforcement programconducted in Maryland by measuring changes in day and night self-reported and observed seat belt use and crashoutcomes. To better understand the characteristics of unbelted drivers, the study compared the driving records ofmotorists who received seat belt citations during the enforcement crackdown with drivers who were not cited forfailing to use seat belts.
Statistically significant pre-post increases in nighttime seat belt use in the program area were observed for three of the five activity waves.
Analysis of driver records found clear evidence that drivers cited for seat belt violations had poorer driving records than those who were not cited for seat belt violations. Some of the differences were substantial. For example, drivers cited for seat belt infractions were nearly eight times more likely than those not cited to have prior seat belt violations on their driver records.
Analysis of crash data for the program area found significant declines in the proportion of occupants involved in injury crashes that were unbelted, both at night and during the day. For fatal crashes, nonsignificant declines were observed in the proportion of occupants that were unbelted at night, as well as the proportion of occupants that were unbelted during the day and night combined.
National Traffic Speeds Survey III: 2015
A field survey was conducted during the summer of 2015 as a longitudinal repetition to similar efforts undertaken in 2007 and 2009. The goal was to measure travel speeds and prepare nationally representative speed estimates for all types of motor vehicles on freeways, arterial highways, and collector roads across the United States. Over 12 million vehicle speeds were measured at 677 sites included in the geographic cluster sample of 24 primary sampling units (PSUs). Each PSU was a county, or group of two or three counties representing combinations of regions of the United States, level of urbanization, and type of topography (flat, hilly, mountainous). Speeds were acquired on randomly drawn road segments on limited access highways, major and minor arterial roads, and collector roads. Speed measurement sites were selected in road segments with low, medium, or high degrees of horizontal and vertical curvature or gradient.
For Access to older content please go to our archived Research page.