Evaluation of relationship of seat belt use between front seat passengers and their drivers in Dayton, Ohio

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Civil Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Mechanics


Advisor: Deogratias Eustace


Several studies have determined the use of seat belts to be one of the major contributing factors in the reduction of fatalities and injury severities associated with motor vehicle crashes. Some studies have found that there is a relationship between drivers and their front passengers in terms of seat belts usage. The objective of this thesis study was to evaluate the seat belts usage rates in Dayton, Ohio based on vehicle type, gender, age, day of the week, time of observation, and person type driver or passenger. Data for this thesis was collected from thirteen sites in Greater Dayton, Ohio by direct observations at interchange ramps and intersections. The binary logistic regression model was used to investigate some independent variables of seat belt usage rates of drivers and their outboard (front seat) passengers in Dayton, Ohio, that is, the binary logistic regression model was used to identify factors that may play a role in relation to seat belt usage. The results from the binary logistic regression modeling show that the person type and vehicle type are significant factors affecting the likelihood of seat belt usage. There were no significant interactions identified between the factors studied.The odds of using seat belt by drivers are higher than the odds of using seat belt by their passengers. Also, the odds of occupants of passenger cars and sport utility vehicles to be belted are higher than the odds of using seat belt by pickup truck occupants. There is no statistically significant difference between van and pickup truck occupants in terms of their seat belt use. Moreover, the pickup truck and van occupants have the lowest seat belt usage rates. In order to increase seat belt usage rates, this study recommends for enforcement officials to pay more attention with pickup truck and van occupants when checking out unbelted vehicle occupants. This persistence will make them increase their seat belt usage, which eventually will increase their chances of saving their lives in case they get involved in severe crashes. The drivers should be encouraged to persuade their passengers to use seat belts. The seat belt law should be upgraded to a primary law from the current ineffective (i.e., difficult to enforce) secondary law if the state of Ohio seriously wants to increase the seat belt usage in the state.


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