Date: Thursday, November 9
Time: 3:40 pm - 4:55 pm
Location: 327 John D. Tickle Building
We will present the preliminary findings, lessons learned and in some cases unexpected results from a project designed to test a variety of interventions, each intended to increase the rate of seatbelt usage during nighttime hours. These included targeted enforcement, paid media campaigns and community outreach as standalone interventions, as well as in combination with one another. The effectiveness of the strategies was assessed based on “before” and “after” observational surveys of seatbelt usage, self-administered surveys at four driver’s license centers and area-wide phone and web panel surveys. The project focused on five counties in east Tennessee (Blount, Knox, Loudon, Roane, and Sevier) with Rutherford County in middle Tennessee serving as a “control” county. In consultation with law enforcement agencies, six observation sites were identified in each county. Observations were made before and after each law enforcement intervention to document seatbelt usage rates. Challenges encountered, include the difficulty of clearly discerning whether or not an occupant was wearing a seat belt, distinguishing between the gender of occupants, scheduling interventions and data collection, coordination of the activities across multiple agencies, and garnering widespread support from local businesses for outreach activities. The three-year long project is being conducted by the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee (UT). It is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with additional support from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO). It is being conducted in partnership with law enforcement agencies in these areas, The Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Center Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) at UT, and a broad array of partners from across the region that encompass community based organizations, organized clubs/groups/departments in schools, colleges, and universities.