1997-02-24

Driver Usage Patterns of Non-Motorized, Door-Mounted, Passive 3-Point Seat Belts 970119

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208 required passive restraints to be phased in over a four year period starting in 1987. One goal of this mandate was to increase seat belt usage rates. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of non-motorized, door-mounted, passive 3-point restraint systems in achieving that goal. Over 15,000 vehicles were observed at airports, shopping malls, and movie theater parking lots. Eleven hundred and sixteen (1,116) of these vehicles had non-motorized, door-mounted, passive 3-point seat belts. Observation of the driver side seat belt allowed the inspector to ascertain whether or not the last driver had used the restraint system in the passive mode. Evaluation of the data revealed that less than one (1) percent of these passive seat belts were being used in the passive mode. The study demonstrated that the passive feature of the non-motorized, door-mounted 3-point restraint system has had a negligible effect on occupant seat belt usage rates.

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