Results of a seat belt use law enforcement and publicity campaign in Elmira, New York

Accid Anal Prev. 1987 Aug;19(4):243-9. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(87)90059-5.


In New York and other states in which seat belt use laws went into effect in the mid-1980s, belt use rates surged initially, then declined. This pattern of belt use also occurred in Canadian provinces that enacted laws in the mid-1970s; special enforcement programs reversed this trend. In late 1985 a three-week enforcement and publicity program was conducted in Elmira, New York. Belt use rates in Elmira were 49 percent before the program, 77 percent right after, and 66 percent two months later. In Glens Falls, a comparison city without a program, belt use declined from 43 percent to 37 percent during this interval. In a telephone survey after the campaign, Elmira respondents were more likely to say the belt use law was being strictly enforced and were more favorable toward it, compared to Glens Falls respondents. These data indicate that enforcement/publicity programs are an important and feasible method for increasing compliance with belt use laws.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Legislation as Topic*
  • New York
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Seat Belts*
  • Social Control, Formal*