Introduction: Selective Traffic Enforcement Programs (sTEPs) are a proven method to change motorists' behavior. Since 1997, the Connecticut DOT's Division of Highway Safety has organized a statewide seat belt enforcement program, with sTEP waves every three or four months. To date, 28 waves have been implemented.
Method: Pre-wave and post-wave seat belt observation surveys are conducted by both state and municipal police across the state. Survey results, as well as a summary of all enforcement activity during the wave, are submitted for evaluation.
Results: Connecticut seat belt use has continued to rise from one wave to the next in a predictable "saw blade" pattern.
Conclusions: The data clearly demonstrate that agencies that have participated in a greater number of waves have experienced the greatest increase in belt use. Belt use has not yet plateaued and additional sTEP enforcement seems indicated. However, evidence from other states suggests that a plateau may occur somewhere in the mid 80% range.
Impact on industry: Should this occur, Connecticut will work toward strengthening the round the clock model, emphasizing the importance of aggressive primary enforcement.