Two objectives of the survey are summarized in this report. One was to establish 1985 safety belt and child safety seat usage rates in Kentucky and compare those to 1982, 1983, and 1984 rates. The other was to evaluate the effectiveness of public information campaigns as a means of increasing safety belt and safety seat usage rates.

Statewide usage rates in the 19 cities previously surveyed in 1982, 1983, and 1984 indicated that driver safety belt usage had increased to 9.2 percent in 1985 while the child safety seat and belt usage rate of 29.1 percent remained at the 1984 level. The increase in driver safety belt usage rates in cities having public information campaigns was higher than the increase in control cities, and the difference was statistically significant. While the increase in child safety seat and belt usage was slightly higher in target cities compared to control cities, the difference was not statistically significant.

While driver safety belt usage has been increasing in the past few years, usage has remained very low with a statewide rate under ten percent. The only method that may be expected to result in a dramatic increase in safety belt usage is enactment of a mandatory safety belt law. The slight decrease in the use of child safety seats and safety belts in 1985 shows the need to modify and strengthen Kentucky's current child restraint law.

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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.