Lilliard Richardson, associate professor in MU's Truman School of Public Affairs, and David J. Houston, associate professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, conducted two studies of primary seatbelt enforcement, and both demonstrate the effectiveness of such laws in saving lives. Primary enforcement laws allow law enforcement officers to pull over drivers and ticket them if they are not wearing their seatbelts. Secondary enforcement laws, on the other hand, only allow an officer to pull over drivers for a separate violation (speeding, headlight out, etc.) and then ticket them if they are not wearing their seatbelts. Twenty-four states have primary enforcement laws, whereas others, including Missouri, only have secondary enforcement laws. New Hampshire has no seatbelt law. A bill to change enforcement from secondary to primary recently passed in the Missouri House and Senate.
In the study "Safety Belt Use and the Switch to Primary Enforcement," Richardson and Houston developed statistical models of observed seatbelt use in 47 states and the District of Columbia from 1991 to 2003. They found that states could increase belt use by 10 percent and improve public safety considerably by upgrading to primary enforcement.
"Seatbelts save lives, and stronger seatbelt laws increase seatbelt use," Richardson said. "Many studies have examined the effects of primary and secondary enforcement laws, but our study is one of only a few to look at the gains that can be made by upgrading from a secondary to a primary law. Our results show that seatbelt use increased when states upgraded to primary enforcement laws, and this means that upgrading can save lives."
Thirteen of the 47 states studied changed their laws from secondary to primary between 1991 and 2003. Richardson and Houston found that seatbelt use in all of the states studied increased during the 13-year study, but states with primary enforcement laws consistently had the highest use of seatbelts, and states with only secondary enforcement laws had the lowest usage rates. States that started the study with secondary enforcement laws and then upgraded to primary enforcement laws experienced the greatest average increase in belt use. States that had primary enforcement laws throughout the study saw seatbelt use increase from 68.4 to 86.1 percent, whereas states that upgraded saw an increase from 55.5 to 82.7 percent.
Another study done by Richardson and Houston, "Reducing Traffic Fatalities in American States by Upgrading Seat Belt Use Laws to Primary Enforcement," showed a strong link not just between primary enforcement laws and seatbelt use, but between primary enforcement laws and a reduction in fatalities. The study found that fatality rates in states with secondary enforcement laws remained stable between 1990 and 2002, whereas fatality rates in states with primary enforcement laws continued to steadily decline. Even with statistical controls for demographic changes in the states over time, primary enforcement states showed nearly double the reduction in fatalities compared to secondary states. Further, an upgrade to primary enforcement was associated with a 5.1 percent decline in fatalities for drivers and a 4.7 percent decrease in all vehicle occupant fatalities. The study estimated that the ten states and District of Columbia that upgraded from secondary to primary enforcement laws saved 3,553 lives between 1993 and 2002.
"Safety Belt Use and the Switch to Primary Enforcement" was published in the American Journal of Public Health in November 2006, and "Reducing Traffic Fatalities in the American states by Upgrading Seatbelt Use Laws to Primary Enforcement" was published in the Journal of Public Analysis and Management in June 2006.
Katherine Kostiuk | EurekAlert!
Did you know how many parts of your car require infrared heat?
23.10.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
Two intelligent vehicles are better than one
04.10.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering