Effects of incentive programs to stimulate safety belt use: a meta-analysis

Accid Anal Prev. 1997 Nov;29(6):759-77. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(97)00045-6.


The effects of campaigns using tangible incentives (rewards) to promote safety belt usage have been evaluated by means of a meta-analytic approach. Two coders extracted a total number of 136 short-term and 114 long-term effect sizes and coded many other variables from 34 journal articles and research reports. The results show a mean short-term increase in use rates of 20.6 percentage points; the mean long-term effect was 13.7 percentage points. Large scale studies report smaller effect sizes than small scale studies; when studies were weighted by the (estimated) number of observations, the weighted mean effect sizes were 12.0 and 9.6 percentage points for the short and long term, respectively. The main factors that influence the magnitude of the reported short-term effect of the programs were the initial baseline rate (which was highly correlated with the presence or absence of a safety belt usage law), the type of population involved, whether incentives were delivered immediately or delayed, and whether incentives were based on group or individual behaviour. Together these four variables accounted for 64% of the variance. Other variables, such as the duration of the intervention, the probability of receiving a reward, and the value of the reward were not related to the short-term effect sizes. The relationship between moderating variables and long-term effects was less clear.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Seat Belts / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States