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Demonstration of the trauma nurses talk tough seat belt diversion program in North Carolina reaches high-risk drivers : traffic tech.
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  • Abstract:
    Nationally, more than 8 of every 10 drivers wear seat belts, but

    individual State belt rates vary from as high as 98% to as low as

    69%. Within individual States, rural areas often have lower rates.

    Strong seat belt laws and highly visible enforcement by State and

    local law enforcement remind drivers to buckle up on every trip,

    but some drivers still do not get the message.

    NHTSA tested whether a special diversion program, a brief

    intervention class taught by highly respected trauma nurses in a

    hospital setting, coupled with dismissal of a belt citation would

    convince these hard to reach drivers to wear their seat belts. The

    immediate benefit to the driver was payment of a small class fee

    in lieu of a high citation fee, court costs, and possibly points on

    their driving or insurance records. The educational benefit to the

    driver was an improved understanding of seat belts, child safety

    seats, and preventable injury and rehabilitation consequences. The

    benefit to local law enforcement was offering offenders a one-time

    low cost alternative for the violation and a novel way to reinforce

    their message that seat belts save lives.

    The Trauma Nurses Talk Tough (TNTT) program began at Legacy

    Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon, in 1988 to teach risk avoidance

    behaviors. The target group was high-risk drivers who did

    not respond to seat belt laws even in a high-belt-use State such as

    Oregon. Trauma nurses teach the courses at hospitals and tell real-life

    stories about real people who sustained preventable injuries

    because they were not wearing seat belts. The nurses use highly

    graphic visuals to demonstrate the negative physical, medical,

    rehabilitation, emotional, legal, and financial consequences of not

    wearing seat belts from their medical point-of-view.

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