A quantitative approach to assessing the efficacy of occupant protection programs: A case study from Montana

Authors

Kezia Manlove, Laura Stanley, Alyssa Peck

Publication

Accident Analysis & Prevention

Abstract

Quantitative evaluation of vehicle occupant protection programs is critical for ensuring efficient government resource allocation, but few methods exist for conducting evaluation across multiple programs simultaneously. Here we present an analysis of occupant protection efficacy in the state of Montana. This approach relies on seat belt compliance rates as measured by the National Occupant Protection Usage Survey (NOPUS). A hierarchical logistic regression model is used to estimate the impacts of four Montana Department of Transportation (MDT)-funded occupant protection programs used in the state of Montana, following adjustment for a suite of potential confounders. Activity from two programs, Buckle Up coalitions and media campaigns, are associated with increased seat belt use in Montana, whereas the impact of another program, Selective Traffic Enforcement, is potentially masked by other program activity. A final program, Driver’s Education, is not associated with any shift in seat belt use. This method allows for a preliminary quantitative estimation of program impacts without requiring states to obtain any new seat belt use data. This approach provides states a preliminary look at program impacts, and a means for carefully planning future program allocation and investigation.

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