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Drivers' assessment of Ford's belt reminder system

Williams, Allan F.; Wells, JoAnn K.
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
December 2003

In recent model years, Ford vehicles have been equipped with a supplementary seat belt reminder system that flashes and chimes intermittently for up to 5 min if the driver is unbelted. Sound- and light-based belt reminder systems of various types are beginning to appear in the market place, and it is important to learn about their acceptance and ability to increase belt use. The present study was designed to ascertain consumer reaction and reported belt use regarding the Ford system. Personal interviews were conducted with 405 drivers of vehicles with the reminder system. Among the drivers, 67% said they had activated the belt reminder one or more times, 73% said that the last time this happened they fastened their belts, 46% said their belt use had increased since driving this vehicle, 78% said they liked the reminder system, and 79% said they wanted a reminder system like this in their next vehicle. Five percent had disabled the system. Part-time users were responsive to the reminder, for example, of those who said they currently used belts usually but not on some occasions, 70% said they fastened their seat belts the last time the reminder was activated and 76% said their belt use had increased. Five percent spontaneously mentioned the belt reminder as an especially disliked feature of their new vehicles, and 2% said their belt use had decreased since having it. The 7% of respondents who reported they used belts never or very occasionally were least responsive to the system. Overall, the Ford belt reminder system is being favorably received.