The objective of this study was to establish 2011 safety belt and child safety seat usage rates in Kentucky . The 2011 survey continues to document the results after enactment of the original “secondary enforcement” statewide mandatory safety belt law in 1994 and the subsequent change to “primary enforcement” which was enacted in 2 006. Data were collected at 160 randomly selected sites in 18 counties across Kentucky. Data from the individual sites were combined into a statewide percentage considering roadway functional classification, county, and vehicle miles traveled.

The data show that the usage rate in 2011 (82.2 percent) showed an increase of about two percent from that in 2010 (80.3 percent) and 2009 (79.7 percent) and an increase of several percentage points compared to 2008 (73.3 percent). The usage rate had increased from 67 percent in 2006 to 72 percent in 2007 after the enactment of “primary enforcement ” legislation. The rate had increased from 42 percent in 1993 to 58 percent in 1994 after enactment of the original mandatory safety belt law.

The 2011 statewide usage rate for children under the age of four was determined to be 97 percent. This continues the very high rate for this age category.

Usage rates varied as a function of the highway functional classification. The highest rate of 88.0 percent was on interstates and parkways, with the lowest rate of 74.4 percent on collector roads. The rate by county varied from a high of 87.2 percent in Fayette County to a low of 65.1 in Pike County. The usage rate by vehicle type varied from a high of 86.8 percent for vans to a low of 71.7 percent for pickup trucks.

The statewide usage rate for motorcycle helmets was 5 2 percent. This was similar to the 50 percent found in 2010 and was a reduction from 64 percent in 2009 and 58 percent in 2008.

Observations showed that about 8.6 percent of the drivers were either talking on their cell phone or keying on their phone.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky or the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. The inclusion of manufacturer names or trade names are for identification purposes and are not considered endorsements.