Summary and Discussion

In summary, the Great Lakes Region States that intensified enforcement during the Rural Demonstration Project in conjunction with their Friendly Cop media program, experienced significant increases in seat belt usage during that phase. In addition, these States experienced overall increases in their rural targeted areas that were greater than statewide increases (w3-w1). These findings suggest that, under these conditions, the RDP was effective in increasing usage in rural targeted areas and appears to have contributed additional impact to the Click It or Ticket efforts that followed.

Statewide seat belt usage increased significantly in all States following the implementation of both phases of the mobilization. There was a median 5-point increase (w3-w1) and this change was similar for primary and secondary law States. In general, increases following CIOT were greater than those following the RDP. This was likely due in part to the lack of enforcement during the RDP in three States and possibly due to more intense enforcement and a harder enforcement messaging during the CIOT phase.

A comparison of rural targeted and nontargeted areas in Indiana provided additional evidence of RDP impact. Targeted rural areas experienced significant increases in awareness and usage during the RDP, while there was no measurable change in nontargeted areas. Following CIOT implementation, there were additional increases in the targeted areas and substantial increases in the nontargeted areas, providing a reasonably clear suggestion of impact regarding both phases of the mobilization.31

It is clear that males, younger occupants, and pickup truck occupants had lower use rates than females, older persons and occupants of other vehicles. Perhaps one of the most important findings was that usage among all three groups was significantly increased when intensified enforcement was present, whether as part of the RDP or CIOT.

This mobilization was comparable to past benchmark mobilizations, such as the 2001 CIOT Program in the southeastern States and the 2003 National CIOT mobilization. The levels of media and enforcement activity were similar in each of these efforts, especially during the CIOT phases; increases in awareness of general and enforcement messages were comparable; and there were significant increases in seat belt usage in all participating States.

31 A different outcome was found in Minnesota where increases in targeted areas did not reach significance during the RDP but where increases in nontargeted areas were significant. This comparison is somewhat less robust, however, since the sample sizes were very small (less than half those of Indiana) and the baseline usage rate in the nontargeted area was about 20 percentage points lower than the baseline rate in the targeted area.