A Survey of Child Safety Seat and Safety Belt Use in Virginia: The 1987 Update

Report No: 88-R15

Published in 1988

About the report:

Observational surveys of belt use by the motoring public in Virginia have been conducted in two series: (1) 1974-1977 and (2) 1983-1987. Only the latter data are presented in this report. Each year data were collected in the Roanoke, Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater areas. In 1987, nine small counties were added to the survey sites: three each in the western, valley, and southside areas of the state. Observed belt usages are analyzed according to a number of occupant, vehicle, and geographic characteristics. Each of these is discussed in a separate section of the report. Belt use in the urban areas Increased each year, and in 1987, 40.4% of the drivers and 32.9% of the passengers were using some form of safety restraint. Use rates in the towns were much lower than those in the urban areas. Observational surveys of belt use by the motoring public in Virginia have been conducted in two series: (1) 1974-1977 and (2) 1983-1987. Only the latter data are presented in this report. Each year data were collected in the Roanoke, Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Tidewater areas. In 1987, nine small counties were added to the survey sites: three each in the western, valley, and southside areas of the state. Observed belt usages are analyzed according to a number of occupant, vehicle, and geographic characteristics. Each of these is discussed in a separate section of the report. Belt use in the urban areas Increased each year, and in 1987, 40.4% of the drivers and 32.9% of the passengers were using some form of safety restraint. Use rates in the towns were much lower than those in the urban areas. While there was considerable variability in the use rates among the towns surveyed, the overall town rates were 20.2% for drivers and 19.5% for passengers. Urban and town rates were combined and treated as statewide rates. These statewide rates were 34.3% for drivers and 28.9% for passengers. There are a number of other findings presented in the report. Among these are the following: (1) belt use is highest in the northern area of that state;. (2) in the last two years, there was little difference in the rates of use throughout the day; (3) each year, over two-thirds of all infants were in child safety seats, but in 1987, 37.5Z were incorrectly restrained; and (4) in 1987, young adults had the highest rates of use. It was concluded that passage of the Child Safety Seat Law by the Virginia General Assembly has had a continuing major positive influence on the use of child safety seats. It was further concluded that a number of ocher factors have combined to raise safety belt usage by ocher vehicle occupants, and these voluntary races have approached levels comparable to usage races in states with mandatory usage laws. It is recommended that additional state and local effort to increase safety, belt use should be directed at small communities and in the western area of the state.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.

Authors

Other Authors

Charles B. Stoke

Last updated: December 29, 2023

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