Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

  DOT HS 809 789

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient’s Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

  2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey
Volume 2
Safety Belt Report

5. Report Date

  September 2004

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)
John M. Boyle and Patricia Vanderwolf
Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc.

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc.
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

National Highway Traffic Safety AdministrationOffice of Research and Traffic Records
400 Seventh Street, S.W. Room 5119 (NTI-130)
Washington, D.C. 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Survey conducted Jan. 8, 2003 to March 30, 2003

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

16. Abstract

  The 2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey was the fifth in a series of biennial national telephone surveys on occupant protection issues conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Data collection was conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc., a national survey research organization. The survey used two questionnaires, each administered to a randomly selected national sample of about 6,000 persons age 16 or older. Interviewing began January 8, 2003 and ended March 30, 2003. This report presents the survey findings pertaining to safety belts. Detailed information on the survey methodology, as well as copies of the questionnaires, are contained in a separate NHTSA report (“2003 Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety Survey. Volume 1. Methodology Report”).

The passenger car remains the most common primary vehicle driven by adults (59%), although the percentage has continued to drop as SUVs (13%) have increased in frequency. The predominant type of safety belt in the front seat of vehicles is the one-piece manual lap and shoulder system (80%). Drivers increasingly are reporting that they have adjustable shoulder belts (52%). Eighty-four percent of drivers said they wore their safety belt “all of the time” while driving, but 7% of those immediately said that they did not use a safety belt while driving at least once in the past day or week. Reported belt use traditionally is higher than observed belt use, although the demographic patterns tend to be the same. Reported safety belt use was lower among males, drivers age 16-24, drivers in rural areas, pickup truck drivers, drivers who engage in other risky driving behaviors, and drivers in secondary enforcement States. Drivers most often cited injury avoidance as their most important reason for using safety belts (66%). Part-time belt users substantially outnumbered those who reported never wearing safety belts, and their primary reasons for non-use were driving just a short distance and forgetting. Eighty-eight percent of the public favored laws that require drivers and front seat passengers to wear safety belts, 64% favored standard enforcement and 65% favored fines for drivers who do not wear safety belts.

17. Key Words

Survey, Occupant Protection, Safety Belts, Seat Belts

18. Distribution Statement

  Document is available to the public through the
National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161

19. Security Classif. (Of this report)

20. Security Classif. (Of this page)

21. No. of Pages

22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)                             Reproduction of completed page authorized