More drivers would buckle up if they had more effective reminders to
wear their seat belts, according to a new report by the National Academies'
Transportation Research Board. Because the current 4- to 8-second belt reminder
in some cars has proved ineffective, the board is urging the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to encourage the automotive industry
to design better systems.
Preliminary research on the only long-duration reminder system currently
in place, which chimes and flashes lights intermittently for up to 5 minutes,
indicates that drivers in vehicles using this system increase their seat belt
use by five percentage points compared with drivers of other vehicles. The
report recommends that Congress give NHTSA authority to require better seat
belt reminder technologies if the automobile industry does not do so voluntarily.
Hampton T. Enhanced Food Security. JAMA. 2003;290(20):2655. doi:10.1001/jama.290.20.2655-a