Objectives: This study examined trends in safety belt use by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and type of safety belt law.
Methods: We analyzed Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data on safety belt use from 33 states for 1987 through 1993 and used linear regression models to determine trends in prevalence.
Results: Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics had the highest safety belt use among racial/ethnic groups. Prevalence varied little from age 25 through 64 years in all years, but averaged 25 percentage points higher in states with primary laws than in states with no belt laws. Overall safety belt use increased by an average 2.7 +/- 0.1 percentage points per year and varied little across most demographic groups, but there was no significant increase for Black males aged 18 through 29 years.
Conclusions: The generally consistent increased in safety belt use across demographic groups is in sharp contrast to trends in other health-risk behaviors. States should enact primary safety belt laws and focus safety belt use efforts towards young Black males.