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A direct observation study of nighttime safety belt use in Indiana

In: Journal of safety research. Vol. 38 (2007), p. 423-429.

Authors: Jonathon M. Vivoda, David W. Eby, Renée M. St. Louis, Lidia P. Kostyniuk


Nearly all direct observation studies of safety belt use are conducted exclusively during daylight hours. Recent work has suggested that safety belt use at night may differ from daytime belt use.


An observational study of nighttime safety belt use, utilizing specialized night vision equipment, was conducted in Indiana surrounding the Click It or Ticket 2006 safety belt mobilization activities. A pre- and a post-mobilization statewide direct observation survey was conducted at night coinciding with daytime safety belt use data collection conducted by the state of Indiana. Daytime and nighttime belt use rates were compared.


The comparisons across the mobilization period revealed a significant increase during the day, but a significant decrease at night. Comparisons between daytime and nighttime belt use revealed no overall difference during the pre wave, but a significant difference during the post wave. Finally, many common daytime trends in belt use were also found at night, with the exception of the typical age and seating position effects.


The mobilization activities had a positive effect on daytime belt use, but no effect on nighttime belt use, likely resulting in the differences between daytime and nighttime belt use observed during the post wave.

Impact on Industry

The findings of this study suggest that safety belt mobilizations implemented only during the day do not influence nighttime safety belt use. Changes to how these programs are implemented or additional programs specifically targeting belt use at night should be considered, along with continued monitoring of nighttime belt use.

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