Nighttime Observations of Safety Belt Use: An Evaluation of California's Primary Law

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An analysis was conducted to determine what effect California's change to a primary safety belt law had on safety belt use among nighttime weekend drivers.


Observations of 18 469 drivers in 2 California communities were made during voluntary roadside surveys conducted every other Friday and Saturday night from 9 PM to 2 AM for 4 years.


Rates of safety belt use rose from 73.0% to 95.6% (P < .0005). For drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.10 or higher, rates rose from 53.4% to 92.1% (P < .0005).


Because substantial improvement in safety belt use was seen even in a group of high-risk drivers, the injury reduction benefits of this law may be high. (Am J Public Health. 1998;88:1718-1720)

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