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Using haptic feedback to increase seat belt use of service vehicle drivers.
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  • Publication/ Report Number:
    DOT HS 811 434 ; 211.5-1 ;
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  • Edition:
    Final report; 7/11/08-9/15/09
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  • Abstract:
    This study pilot-tested a new application of a technology-based intervention to increase seat belt use. The technology was based on a

    contingency in which unbelted drivers experienced sustained haptic feedback to the gas pedal when they exceeded 25mph. Although

    drivers could continue to drive unbelted and exceed 25 mph by pressing on the pedal harder, they needed to exert constant mental and

    physical effort to do so. The feedback disappeared when drivers buckled. The feedback was sufficient to set up an establishing operation to

    reinforce seat belt buckling behavior. Participants were 7 commercial drivers who operated carpet-cleaning vans. During baseline, no

    contingency was in place for unbuckled trips. The yieldable haptic feedback technology was introduced on a multiple baseline across

    drivers design. Once the first set of drivers had responded to the contingency, it was introduced for the second set of drivers. During the

    first day of treatment the device was explained and demonstrated in vivo for all drivers of the vehicle. Driver’s indicated they were

    impressed with the device and would not drive very long unbelted with the force in place. The introduction of the feedback system was

    associated with an immediate sustained increase in seat belt use to 100%. Occasionally drivers would initially forget to buckle during a trip

    and encounter the force. In all instances they buckled within less than 25 s of the force being applied. One advantage of this device relative

    to a gearshift interlock that requires buckling before moving a vehicle, is that drivers do not need to buckle while operating the vehicle in

    reverse, moving to a loading dock or switching parking spaces.

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