Published in 2004
The Virginia Transportation Research Council has been collecting safety belt use data in Virginia since 1974. In 1992, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published the final guidelines for conducting surveys of belt and helmet use in the states. As of the 1992 survey, Virginia adopted the NHTSA protocol for its statewide survey. The results showed that Virginia's summer 2004 safety belt use rate was 79.9 percent, and its motorcycle helmet use rate was 99.3 percent. In the 12 previous surveys, virtually all of the motorcycle drivers and passengers observed were using a helmet. For passenger car drivers and right front passengers observed from 1992 through 2003, use rates varied from a low of 67.1 percent in 1997 to a high of 74.6 percent in the summer of 2003. The summer 2004 use rate of 79.9 percent is 5.3 points higher than that of any other previous survey. It should be noted, however, that any differences between annual use rates might be attributable to differences in travel patterns or other extraneous variables, such as increases in gas prices and the resulting reduction in pleasure trips, rather than solely to changes in driver and occupant behavior.
Cheryl Lynn, Jami Kennedy
Last updated: November 28, 2023