Using Haptic Feedback to Increase Seat Belt Use [Traffic Tech]
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Using Haptic Feedback to Increase Seat Belt Use [Traffic Tech]

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      The legacy of research on increasing seat belt use has focused on enactment of seat belt legislation, public education, high-visibility police enforcement, and seat belt reminder systems. Several behavioral programs have produced large, sustained increases in seat belt use, and several of these techniques have been employed on a communitywide basis to increase seat belt use. Innovative technologies may add to the success realized by the high-visibility enforcement model and elevate the seat belt use rate further. In the present study reviewed in this edition of "Traffic Tech", researchers tested an innovative technology that uses haptic feedback to increase seat belt use. This system imposes an increased resistance to the accelerator pedal when the driver is unbuckled and a predetermined speed is exceeded. This concept offers several potential advantages over other technologies. First, the system would not affect drivers who always buckle but do so after motion, nor would it affect drivers who do not buckle in very low-risk situations such as backing a vehicle to a loading dock. Second, because driving at the chosen speed in a comfortable manner should be a powerful reinforcer, the device should produce a rapid and sustained increase in seat belt use to 100%. Third, this system remains in effect until drivers fasten their seat belts. Finally, the system is consistently applied by the vehicle and does not require anyone to monitor driver seat belt use and apply consequences for not wearing the seat belt. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of this device on seat belt use and driver acceptance of the device.
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