A Comparative Policy Analysis of Seat Belt Laws, RB37-013, 2014

(2014) A Comparative Policy Analysis of Seat Belt Laws, RB37-013, 2014. Transportation, Department of


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This analysis examined data from a variety of sources to estimate the benefit of enhancing Iowa’s current law to require all passengers to use seat belts. In addition to assessing Iowans’ opinions about changing the law, a literature review, a legislative policy review, and analysis of Iowa crash data were completed. Currently 28 states enforce seat belt laws for all passengers. Belted passengers riding with an unbelted passenger are 2 to 5 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash relative to when all occupants are using seat belts. Iowans are highly compliant (90%-94%) with the current seat belt law for front seat occupants. Of more than 1000 Iowans surveyed, 85% said they always use a seat belt when riding in the front seat, but only 36% always do so when they ride in the back seat. The most common reasons given for not using seat belts in the back seat are forgetting to buckle up and because it is not the law. Iowans widely support strengthening Iowa’s seat belt law — 62% said Iowa law should require all rear seat passengers to use seat belts. Four out of five respondents said they would use seat belts more often when sitting in the rear seat if it was the law. It is estimated rear seat fatalities would decrease about 48%, from 13 to 7 fatalities annually, if an all-passenger law was implemented in Iowa.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Crash data; Fatalities; Laws and legislation; Literature reviews; Policy analysis; Public opinion; Rear seat occupants; Seat belt use
Subjects: Laws and regulations > State statutes
Transportation > Traffic safety
Transportation > Law and policies
ID Code: 21904
Deposited By: Leighton Christiansen
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2016 12:03
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 12:03
URI: https://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/21904