Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Primary seat belt laws mean even high-risk teens stay buckled up into adulthood

Date:
April 19, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
Teen drivers who live in states with “secondary enforcement” seat belt laws are less likely to stay buckled up than in “primary enforcement” states.

While most teens do buckle up when driving, new research shows that novice teen drivers who live in states with so-called "secondary enforcement" seat belt laws are less likely to use the life-saving devices than those in "primary enforcement" states. The research, conducted by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farmฎ, is published in the American Journal of Public Health. The research found seat belt use rates differed as teens moved through the probationary licensing process known as Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL).

A primary seat belt law allows an officer to stop a vehicle and issue a citation simply for not wearing a seat belt. A secondary seat belt law only allows for a citation to be issued if the vehicle is stopped for a primary violation, such as speeding.

For the study, researchers examined a nationally-representative sample of 3,126 high school students who described themselves as drivers and found that 82 percent reported regularly wearing seat belts as drivers and 69 percent as passengers. Teens who live in states with primary seat belt laws were 12 percent more likely to buckle up as drivers and 15 percent more likely to buckle up as passengers compared to teens who reside in states with weaker secondary enforcement laws.

The research also showed the long-term effectiveness of strong seat belt laws. As teen drivers advance through GDL, from the supervised "learner's permit" to "probationary license" to "unrestricted license," they are more likely to continue to wear their seat belts in states with primary seat belt laws as compared to states with secondary enforcement laws.

"Teens in the learner's permit phase of licensure reported similar belt use, regardless of whether their state had a primary or secondary law," noted Felipe J. Garcia-Espana, Ph.D., co-author of the study and a researcher at CHOP's Center for Injury Research and Prevention, "but driver seat belt use declined to 69 percent in secondary-law states as teens advanced to an unrestricted license, while seat belt use remained relatively steady at 82 percent in states with primary laws."

The researchers observed particularly low seat belt use among specific groups of teens, including those living in rural areas, African-Americans, students with low grades or attending schools in lower socioeconomic districts, and those driving pickup trucks. Seat belt use among these groups was higher in states with primary enforcement laws, showing that the laws help narrow safety disparity gaps.

"Teen crashes are complex events with multiple factors contributing to them. However, the main reason teens die in these crashes is failure to buckle up," explained Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention and co-author of the study. "This study suggests that if state laws don't reinforce the importance of seat belt use, teens may be less motivated to buckle up and are placed at much higher risk of being injured or killed in a crash." Using a seat belt reduces the risk of a fatal injury by 45 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Until all states have a strong primary enforcement belt law, researchers say the burden falls on parents to enforce the buckle up message, as well as on teen drivers to insist their friends use seat belts on every trip.

"Parents play an important role in making sure their kids always wear a seat belt, whether or not their state has a strong seat belt law," said Dr. Durbin. "They should start by setting the example of always wearing a seat belt as a passenger and as a driver, and remind their teen that they and their passengers need to be wearing seat belts on every trip− no matter how short− in order to keep their driving privileges."

"Among all of the safety messages bombarding teens today, this may be the easiest to act on: Buckle up on every ride. This simple act can make the difference between life and death," said Chris Mullen, director of Technology Research, Strategic Resources at State Farm Insurance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Primary seat belt laws mean even high-risk teens stay buckled up into adulthood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419191149.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2012, April 19). Primary seat belt laws mean even high-risk teens stay buckled up into adulthood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419191149.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Primary seat belt laws mean even high-risk teens stay buckled up into adulthood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419191149.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) — A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins