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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 Summer 2005 Update
Authors:
Cheryl W. Lynn
Year: 2005
VTRC No.: 06-R4
Abstract: 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 current survey showed that Virginia's summer 2005 safety belt use rate was 80.4 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 2005 use rate was 0.5 percent higher than the rate for the summer of 2004 (79.9 percent), which was about 5 points higher than any previous use rate. 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.