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Nighttime Safety Belt Use

The safety belt is the single most effective system for reducing the severity of injuries during a motor vehicle crash. It is only effective, however, if used consistently. The United States has made great strides in increasing the use of safety belts, with nationwide belt use around 80 percent. However, nearly all direct observation studies of safety belt use are conducted during daylight hours. Recent research suggests that nighttime safety belt use may be lower than rates observed during the day. UMTRI researchers have developed and implemented direct observation survey methodology to assess safety belt use of motorists traveling at night. This methodology includes the use of specialized night vision equipment for viewing and illuminating vehicle occupants.