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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.

Title:

Safety Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Use in Virginia: The December 2003 Update
Authors:
Cheryl W. Lynn
Year: 2004
VTRC No.: 04-R15
Abstract: The Virginia Transportation Research Council has been collecting safety belt use data in Virginia since 1974. Beginning in 1992, the data gathering methodology was changed to a statistically valid probability-based sampling plan in accordance with federal guidelines. The methods and procedures that qualified Virginia for incentive fund consideration from 1992 through 2003 were used in all 11 official summer surveys as well as the two winter surveys. The results show that Virginia's December 2003 safety belt use rate was 73.1% and its motorcycle helmet use rate was 100%. For drivers and right-front passengers in the most recent 11 years of this survey, use rates varied from a low of 67.1% in 1997 to a high of 74.6% in summer 2003. The December use rate of 73.1% represents a decrease from the summer 2003 use rate and an increase from the December 2002 use rate of 71.1%. However, because of the change in survey dates, modification of times necessitated during the winter survey, the addition of new sites, and reexamined population figures, longitudinal comparisons between use rates in 2002 and 2003 and use rates in other years should be interpreted with caution. Any differences between annual use rates might be attributable to seasonal differences in travel patterns and restraint/helmet use rather than solely to changes in driver and occupant behavior.