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Effectiveness and driver acceptance of the Honda belt reminder system

Ferguson, Susan A.; Wells, JoAnn K.; Kirley, Bevan B.
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
May 2007

Objective: Prior research suggests that vehicle-based seat belt reminder systems can produce moderate increases in belt use rates. However, these findings were based on a limited set of Ford vehicles in one geographic location. As more vehicles with reminder systems enter the market, it is important to determine their effectiveness as well as acceptance by consumers. The present study investigated the effectiveness of Honda's belt reminder system.
Methods: Driver belt use was observed unobtrusively as drivers brought their Honda vehicles to dealerships for service. Drivers also were asked to complete a mail-in survey designed to elicit their experience with the system.
Results: Belt use was significantly higher among drivers of vehicles with belt reminders compared with drivers of vehicles without reminders (90 vs. 84 percent). Use rates in vehicles with reminders were higher among both male and female drivers and in all vehicle types observed. Drivers of the Honda vehicles with belt reminders viewed the system very favorably, and nearly 90 percent said they would want one in their next vehicle. The reminder was perceived to be most effective by part-time belt users; 81 percent of part-time users said they now use belts more often, compared with 32 percent of respondents who said they always use belts and 18 percent who use belts occasionally.
Conclusion: Belt reminders in Honda as well as Ford vehicles are increasing. Although the increase is moderate (5.6 percentage points), on a national level it could have prevented at least 736 driver deaths in 2004.