Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2002

Publication Source

Journal of the Transportation Research Forum


Passenger vehicle occupant restraints are regarded as the easiest and the most effective way of reducing the number of highway fatalities. Strong vehicle occupant protection enforcement laws are regarded as the most effective way to increase seat belt use. The increase in restraint use in the United States and other countries has been largely attributed to mandatory seat belt use legislation. Many fatalities and injuries in motor vehicle crashes could be avoided if more passengers used their seat belts. Studies have shown that primary laws have been more effective in seat belt use compliance than secondary laws. Also, legislation has been found to be more effective in increasing seat belt use than educational or incentive programs in the absence of legislation. The United States has been lagging behind other developed countries in enacting strong seat belts use laws and enforcement strengthening. In Kansas, the seat belt usage compliance rate was 60% in 2000, which was far below the national average of 71%. The seat belt fine for Kansas is among the lowest in the US and is regarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as not adequate. In Kansas, the younger child’s compliance rate is the highest while the older child’s compliance rate is the lowest among vehicle occupants’ groups. Pickup truck occupants consistently had the lowest compliance rates as compared to cars, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and vans.

Inclusive pages




Document Version

Published Version


The journal is now published by the Transportation Research Forum. Article is made available for download with permission. Permission documentation is on file.


Eno Transportation Foundation

Place of Publication

Washington, DC



Peer Reviewed