Seat Belt Usage Field Work Timeline and Term Paper

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Seat Belt Usage

Field Work

Timeline and Budget

The focus of this research proposal is to examine and analyze seat belt usage by examining demographic and geographic information to determine if seat belt usage has increased nationwide and if so, what effect this has had on traffic accidents and fatalities.

Research will be obtained from other studies that have collected data from observation and surveys. Fieldwork studies will also be included. The majority of information will be taken from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), National Center for Statistics and Analysis Center, (NCSAC), National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Controlled studies have been conducted on a large-scale basis and would be hard to recreate. This paper will rely on comprehensive studies that have been conducted nationwide.

The primary objectives of the data gathering throughout the course of the study will be to obtain information that can:

Determine if seat belts indeed save lives

If there are correlations in some of the demographic data as to seat belt usages

How successful law enforcement has been in increasing seat belt usage

To date, these studies indicate that there has been an increase in seat belt usage. This paper will review and summarize current available data to determine if the hypotheses proposed by this paper have been proven.

Introduction

Problem Statement

According to information from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis Center, only 75% of drivers nationwide use seat belts (NCSAC, 2002). Although this shows an increase over usage in the 1990s, there is still a significant problem in reaching full compliance from drivers nationwide.

One problem that may be a contributing factor to this is the fact that state seat belt laws vary and primary enforcement can also vary from state to state.

Purpose of Research

To examine the use of seat belts nationwide and determine if usage has increased; if enforcement efforts have had any effect and what are the results of increased usage. The paper will also focus on significant factors that affect the use or non-use of seat belts.

Although research indicates there has been an increase in seat belt usage, there is still a significant amount of non-compliance, among certain states and demographic (age, race, gender) groups.

Unit of Analysis and Variables

This paper will examine other research and field data that has been collected by state and national agencies on a controlled basis. This will include surveys, interstate observations and demographic classifications. Some of the studies use a probability sample to account for the expected error rate of direct observation of roadways. All of the research information that will be used has incorporated estimate adjustments for sampling errors.

The paper will document data collected by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Controlled Intersection Study of NOPUS used a sample obtained from stopping and slowing traffic to permit detailed observation of seat belt usage and demographic characteristics.

The variables that will be included in this research are:

Age

Gender

Race

Geographic location

Vehicle type

Research Objectives

The primary objective of this research paper is to determine what factors affect the use of seat belts and to determine if there is a profile of drives who are non-compliant. The paper will also examine if there are any major findings by age, gender, race, geographic location, or vehicle type.

Additionally, the paper will compare results from different years to determine if there has been any significant increase in usage and if so, why. There may be a correlation between race, gender or age and results will be provided to support any of these hypotheses.

Literature Review

The purpose of this literature research and review is to investigate the work done by previous researchers on the issue of seat belt usage. My objective is to find current and relevant information on seat belt usage and determine if usage has increased; if enforcement efforts have had any effect and what are the results of increased usage.

The research will attempt to support previous works that indicate that seat belt usage has contributed to saving lives in traffic accidents. Several large organizations have studied this problem and there is ample significant research to choose from.

The majority of research information for this paper will come from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis Center (NCSAC), National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

According to data gathered by the NHTSA, so crash every 14 someone in America is injured in a traffic accident every 14 seconds, and every twelve minutes someone is killed. The single and most effective protection against death and serious injury in a car crash is a seat belt. Although73% of people say they are full time seat belt users, 10% acknowledge that they did not use their seat belts on at least one occasion during the week (NHSTA, 2002).

According the NHTSA research, most accidents happen within 25 miles of home and more than 40,000 people die on our nation's highways each year and many more are seriously injured (NHSTA, 2002).

The USDOT conducted a study in 2002 that showed that seat belt usage had reached 75% and the primary states had reached a milestone of 80% seat belt usage. The study also indicated that belt usage had increased in the Northeast and particularly in vans and SUVs (USDOT, 2002).

Data from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) demonstrates that if all the states had tough primary seat belt laws, then an additional 2,000 lives would be saved every year, in addition to the 12,000 lives that would be saved each year with no changes on the existing seat belt laws. It also showed that belt usage is generally lower on interstates because of the greater likelihood of short-trip takers (NCSA, 2002).

All of the data indicates that seal belt usage has a direct correlation to saving lives in traffic accidents.

Research Methodology

Research Design

My research for this paper will be in the form of a comprehensive review and an examination of the existing field and survey studies that have been conducted by government organizations, as well as other literature on the subject of seat belt usage. Information for this paper will be gathered, analyzed and presented based on relevance and criteria included in the studies. Criteria will be established for gathering demographic data from and general background information from various studies.

Data Collection

The primary objectives of the data gathering throughout the course of the study will be to obtain information that can:

Determine if seat belts indeed save lives

If there are correlations in some of the demographic data as to seat belt usages

How successful law enforcement has been in increasing seat belt usage

It will also be important to identify any particular differences that may exist as far as some of the demographics to determine if any age, gender, or race shows significant use of seat belts and if so, what conclusions can be drawn from that. In other words, are there any particular demographic differences that may impact the use of seat belts?

It will also be imperative to have an understanding of the Prince George's County School System and any significant changes or plans that have taken place in the system during the past five years.

Sample Design

The sample design will be determined by the criteria that are defined in existing studies. The majority of government studies are nationwide and several of them include actual fieldwork on interstate highways.

The studies that will be selected and included in this paper will be chosen based on the relevance and timeliness of the data that is included. More recent data will be a primary source for information.

Fieldwork

As noted, the majority of studies include fieldwork on national state highways and traffic intersections. Data interpretation is presented as to the use of seat belts in passenger cars. The data was gathered through actual observations made at intersections with traffic lights. Other studies include actual interviews with passengers and drivers about seat belt usage and the results were prepared into written reports.

Data Analysis

The researchers who conducted the studies have predetermined data analysis. The variables and method of analysis are preset for these studies. For the purposes of this paper, all of the resulting information provided by these studies will be reviewed and the most comprehensive and conclusive will be included.

Limitation of the Research

The major limitation of this research is that it is not primary or first hand data. However, these secondary sources are comprehensive and have been conducted on a large-scale basis providing extensive research. The resulting evaluations and reports provide a significant amount of data.

Results

The results section will include tables that compare demographics based on the research completed in various government studies. Research will be reviewed and information compiled about results and…[continue]

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