The objective of this study was to establish 1994 safety belt and child safety seat usage rates in Kentucky. The 1994 survey documents the results from enacting a statewide mandatory safety belt law. Data were collected at 100 sites and combined based on vehicle miles travelled for a given type of highway, rural or urban location, and county population category. Also included in this report is an analysis of accident records evaluating the effectiveness of safety belts.

The data show that enactment of the statewide law had a dramatic effect on usage rates. The usage rate for drivers increased from 42 percent in 1993 to 58 percent in 1994. While the usage rate for drivers had increased for the past several years, the amount of the increase was decreasing prior to enactment of the statewide law.

The statewide usage rate for children under the age of four was determined to be 72 percent. This represents an increase from the 61 percent usage determined in the 1993 survey.

Benefits in the reduction of injuries for occupants involved in police-reported accidents wearing a safety belt or in a safety seat were shown through the analysis of accident records. For example, a 56 percent reduction in fatal or incapacitating injuries was determined for drivers wearing a safety belt compared to those who were not restrained.

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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.