Safety Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Use in Virginia: The 1998 Update

Report No: 99-TAR1

Published in 1998

About the report:

This series of surveys to determine the safety belt and motorcycle helmet use rates in Virginia was initiated to qualify the Commonwealth for incentive funds in accordance with the requirements of Section 153 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. To receive funds, states had to have laws requiring the use of safety belts and motorcycle helmets and to meet certain use rate standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specified the survey criteria to be used in determining a state's use rate. Over the 3 years the program was in operation (1991-93), Virginia qualified for approximately $1.6 million in funds. Even though the funding program ended, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requested that data collection continue and that the same methods, procedures, and sites be used as were used for the Section 153 program. This report describes the methodology used for site selection and data collection and adds the results of the 1998 survey to those for the previous years (1992-97). The results show that Virginia's 1998 safety belt use rate was 73.6% and its motorcycle helmet use rate was 99.6%. The helmet use rate had been 100% in the first 5 years of the study (1992-1996) and was 98.7% in 1997. For the first 6 years the survey was conducted (1992-97), the safety belt use rates were 71.6%, 73.2%,71.8%,70.2%,69.6%, and 67.1 %, respectively. The 1998 safety belt use rate ends a 4-year trend of yearly reductions in usage that had been occurring since 1993. Also in 1998, only one motorcycle rider, a driver, was observed to be riding without a helmet.

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.


  • Charles B. Stoke 

Last updated: December 13, 2023

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