The influence of demographic factors on seatbelt use by adults injured in motor vehicle crashes

Accid Anal Prev. 2001 Sep;33(5):659-62. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(00)00080-4.


This study determined demographic factors associated with reported seatbelt use among injured adults admitted to a trauma center. A retrospective chart review was conducted including all patients admitted to a trauma center for injuries from motor vehicle crashes (MVC). E-codes (i.e. ICD-9 external cause of injury codes) were used to identify all patients injured in a MVC between January 1995 and December 1997. Age, sex, race, residence zip code (i.e. a proxy for income based on geographic location of residence), position in the vehicle, and seatbelt use were obtained from the trauma registry. Forward logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of seatbelt use. Complete data was available for 1366 (82%) patients. Seatbelt use was reported for 45% of patients under age of 25 years, 52% of those 25-60 years, and 68% of those over 60 years. Overall, seatbelt use was reported for 45% of men and 63% of women, as well as for 56% of Caucasians (i.e. Whites) and 34% of African Americans. In addition, seatbelt use was reported for 33% of those earning less than $20,000 per year and 55% of those earning over $20,000. Finally, seatbelt use was reported for 57% of drivers and 43% of passengers. Logistic regression revealed that age, female gender, Caucasian race, natural log of income, and driver were all significant predictors of reported seatbelt use. These results show that seatbelt use was more likely to be reported for older persons, women, Caucasians, individuals with greater incomes, and drivers. Seatbelt use should be encouraged for everyone; however, young people, men, African Americans, individuals with lower incomes, and passengers should be targeted specifically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology