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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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    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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