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. 2018 Jun;65:39-51.
doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

The Effect of a Gearshift Interlock on Seat Belt Use by Drivers Who Do Not Always Use a Belt and Its Acceptance Among Those Who Do

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The Effect of a Gearshift Interlock on Seat Belt Use by Drivers Who Do Not Always Use a Belt and Its Acceptance Among Those Who Do

David G Kidd et al. J Safety Res. .

Abstract

Introduction: Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash, yet in 2015, nearly 10,000 people killed in passenger vehicles were unrestrained. Enhanced seat belt reminders increase belt use, but a gearshift interlock that prevents the vehicle from being placed into gear unless the seat belt is used may prove more effective.

Method: Thirty-two people with a recent seat belt citation and who admitted to not always using a seat belt as a driver were recruited as part-time belt users and asked to evaluate two new vehicles. Sixteen drove two vehicles with an enhanced reminder for one week each, and 16 drove a vehicle with an enhanced reminder for one week and a vehicle with a gearshift interlock the following week. Sixteen full-time belt users who reported always using a seat belt drove a vehicle with a gearshift interlock for one week to evaluate acceptance.

Results: Relative to the enhanced reminder, the gearshift interlock significantly increased the likelihood that a part-time belt user used a belt during travel time in a trip by 21%, and increased the rate of belt use by 16%; this effect approached significance. Although every full-time belt user experienced the gearshift interlock, their acceptance of the technology reported in a post-study survey was fairly positive and not significantly different from part-time belt users. Six part-time belt users circumvented the gearshift interlock by sitting on a seat belt, waiting for the system to deactivate, or unbuckling during travel.

Conclusion: The gearshift interlock increased the likelihood that part-time belt users buckled up and the rate of belt use during travel relative to the enhanced reminder but could be more effective if it prevented circumvention.

Practical applications: An estimated 718-942 lives could be saved annually if the belt use of unbuckled drivers and front passengers increased 16-21%.

Keywords: Enhanced reminder; Gearshift interlock; Part-time belt user; Seat belt use.

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