The objective of this study was to establish 1999 safety belt and child safety seat usage rates in Kentucky. The 1999 survey continues to document the results after enactment of a statewide mandatory safety belt law in 1994. Data were collected at 200 sites spread across Kentucky. Data from the individual sites were combined into a statewide percentage considering function classification, geographic region, and vehicle miles traveled.

The data show that the usage rate increased in 1999 after a few years where the rate had remained at a stable level below the highest value which occurred in 1994 immediately after enactment of the statewide usage law. The usage rate for front seat occupants was 59 percent in 1999 compared to 54 percent in 1998, 1997 and 1995, 55 percent in 1996, and 58 percent in 1994. The current usage is substantially above the 1993 level, prior to enactment of the statewide law, of 42 percent.

The 1999 statewide usage rate for children under the age of four was determined to be 89 percent. This continues the high rate found for this age category and compares to the previous high of 82 percent in 1997.

The statewide law, except for children, involves secondary enforcement. The higher rate for children could partially be related to primary enforcement. To obtain the maximum possible increase in usage, the current law should be modified to allow primary, rather than secondary, enforcement.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author who is 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 State Police. 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 as endorsements.