The objective of this study was to establish 2010 safety belt and child safety seat usage rates in Kentucky. The 2010 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 2006. 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 2010 (80.3 percent) was almost identical to that in 2009 (79.7 percent) after 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 2010 statewide usage rate for children under the age of four was determined to be 96.4 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 86.7 percent was on interstates and parkways, with the lowest rate of 73.4 percent on collector roads. The rate by county varied from highs of 85.9 percent in Warren County 85.4 percent in Fayette County to lows of 66.6 percent in Knott County and 67.4 in Pike County. The usage rate by vehicle type varied from a high of 84.6 percent for vans to a low of 70.0 percent for pickup trucks.

The statewide usage rate for motorcycle helmets was 50 percent. This was a reduction from 64 percent in 2009 and 58 percent in 2008.

Observations showed that about 7.6 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.