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A study of Michigan safety belt use prior to implementation of standard enforcement
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    Reported here are the results of a direct observation survey of safety belt use conducted in January 2000 to provide a baseline rate from which to measure safety belt use trends following the implementation of standard enforcement in Michigan. In this study, 8,943 occupants traveling in four vehicle types (passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, vans/minivans, and pickup trucks) were surveyed from January 13 to January 27, 2000. Belt use was estimated for all commercial/noncommercial vehicles types combined (the statewide safety belt use rate) and separately for each vehicle type. Within and across each vehicle type, belt use by age, sex, road type, day of week, time of day, and seating position were calculated. Statewide belt use was 64.7%. When compared with the safety belt use rate determined in September 1999, this survey's estimated use rate shows that safety belt use in Michigan has decreased over the past four months. Belt use was 68.7% for passenger cars, 65.9% for sport-utility vehicles, 69.2% for vans/minivans, and 49.8% for pickup trucks. For all vehicle types, belt use was higher for females than for males, and higher for drivers than for passengers. In general, belt use was higher during the morning and evening rush hours and while it was snowing. Belt use did not vary systematically by time of day or day of week. Implementation of standard enforcement of mandatory safety belt use combined with maintenance of effective public information and education programs and targeting programs at low use populations, could be effective in increasing safety belt use in Michigan and in helping Michigan reach the national and state belt use standards set for the year 2005.
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